Trade And Economic Relations Of Moscow With New Delhi Are A Major Theme Of Russian-Indian Summit Talks

The questions of intensifying trade and economic relations of Moscow with New Delhi are a major item of the agenda of the talks between the president of Russia and the Prime-Minister of India to be held in the Kremlin on Tuesday. As RIA Novosti was told in the Kremlin, "Russia is not satisfied with the quantitative indicators of trade and economic cooperation" with India in the civilian sphere. The trade turnover between the two countries stands at approximately 1.5 billion dollars per annum. But, in Moscow's opinion, this level "is far behind the potentialities" of Russia and India. Furthermore, one more problem worries Russia. A considerable part of goods is now supplied to Russia as payment by India of its state debt to the USSR. In 2004 India will fully pay off its debt, and the supplies of Indian goods to Russia may be substantially reduced. The Kremlin holds the view that to avoid these adverse effects, it is necessary to work out new, fully market and mutually advantageous mechanisms of trade and economic cooperation. Moscow would also like to change the orientation of the two countries' trade which is mainly oriented to raw-material flows. Farm produce accounts for 40 per cent of the import from India to Russia whereas the proportion of engineering products stands at a mere 6, and of pharmaceutical ones - at 8 per cent. As a Kremlin representative told RIA Novosti, both sides attach great importance "to more productive work of the intergovernment commission" set up in October 2000 during Vladimir Putin's visit to India. In the Kremlin's view, "the commission has not reached the peak of its effectiveness" so far. By RIA Novosti's information, during the talks the leadership of Russia will also touch upon such a problem as antidumping research in India with regard to the export of Russian metallurgical and chemical products. The Kremlin officials call it an "irritant" in Russian-Indian trade and economic relations.

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