A free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Russia is being discussed, the Russian trade minister announced on Monday. This development might strengthen the strong bilateral commercial ties that have developed since the conflict in Ukraine.
Despite calls from Western nations for India to gradually remove itself from its main weapons supplier, Russia, over its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the FTA talks signal an improvement in commercial relations between the two nations.
Over the previous fiscal year, India’s imports from Russia more than doubled to $46.33 billion, primarily through oil.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Denis Manturov stated at an event in New Delhi, “We pay special attention to the issues of mutual access of production to the markets of our countries. Together with the Eurasian Economic Commission, we are looking forward to intensifying negotiations on a free trade agreement with India.”
S Jaishankar, India’s Foreign Minister, said the COVID pandemic had hampered talks on an FTA between India and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, and he hoped “our colleagues will pick up on this… because we do believe it will make a real difference to our trade relationship.”
Manturov said road construction equipment, chemicals, and pharmaceutical products were in demand in Russia, and “I am sure that this will create opportunities for Indian companies to increase their supplies to Russia.”
The statement coincided with New Delhi’s FTA negotiations with the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Pro-Western Ukraine refers to Russia’s campaign in Ukraine as an unjustified war of conquest, while Russia refers to it as a “special military operation” against security concerns.
New Delhi has advocated for a calm, diplomatic solution to the situation without directly criticising the Russian intervention. As the battle has gone on, bilateral trade between Russia and India has increased.