The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to India, H.E Nikolay R. Kudashev shared his vision for the prospects of bilateral relationship between India and Russia. He also accentuated the strong cultural ties between the two countries and highlighted the steps Russia has taken to boost cultural and economic ties.
- India and Russia have set a target of $30 billion in bilateral trade by 2025 the two countries are working towards developing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to facilitate the target. What according to you is the significance of such agreements and what is the future of trade between Russia and India?
The trade volume between Russia and India is a priority issue for our leaders and an important pillar of bilateral ties, which requires certain reinforcement. No efforts are spared in bringing closer the target of 30 billion USD in trade turnover. It is heartening that over the last two years we have managed to keep the upward trend in our economic ties, with trade reaching almost 11 billion USD in 2018.
I am very optimistic about our trade, as we see an increasing number of stakeholders eager to explore each other’s markets. Lately, we have established a number of new bilateral mechanisms aimed at increasing awareness of business communities of Russia and India about incentives and potential offered from both sides. In November 2018, the first round of Strategic Economic Dialogue brought to Saint Petersburg leading economists, business captains and officials from Russia and India seeking to find new vistas for expanding economic and investment ties. Last February, Mumbai hosted the first ever Russian-Indian Forum of Small and Medium Enterprises. A similar Forum aimed at bringing together the regions of the two countries is also on the anvil. Of course, we expect a lot from the upcoming Free Trade Agreement, which is to be concluded between India and the Eurasian Economic Union. It will cover a vast area with not only Russia and India, but also Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus falling within its ambit. The feasibility study group proved in its report that the FTA would be highly
beneficial for the member-countries, and now the work is underway on harmonizing the text of the future agreement. Hopefully, once operational, the free trade zone coupled with such multilateral projects as the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and customs facilitating “Green Corridor” will be instrumental in smoother and more diversified trade between the participating countries, contributing to the Eurasian common space.
The Festival of India in Russia (September 2018-March 2019) was a bright event with a rich history. What are the main objectives of this cultural celebration?
First and foremost, let me state that both our countries attach great importance to our cultural cooperation, which covers a wide range of areas: be it music, dance, theater, film festivals, art and photo exhibitions, seminars and conferences, etc. For example, October 2018 saw the opening of the Days of Russian Culture in India and the Days of Russian cinema in India. This year New Delhi will host not only the next edition of the Days of Russian cinema in India, but also the Days of Moscow – November 2019.
To sum it up, the Festivals of India in Russia as well as the Days of Russian Culture in India are held annually since 2011 and they become a living testimony to mutual affinity, trust and amity between not only our two countries, but also between our two peoples.