INDIA DISCONTENT WITH INDO-RUSSIAN ECONOMIC RELATIONS

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NEW DELHI, May 24 (RIA Novosti) - Despite the considerable potential of bilateral co-operation, Indo-Russian economic relations are at a low level, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Shrinivasan said in a RIA Novosti interview.

"Relations between India and Russia are now extremely important for us in India. But considering Russia's and India's potentials, bilateral trade is too insignificant. This is what we should worry about," he said.

According to the Indian finance ministry, exports from India to Russia totalled 1.34% of India's entire exports, not counting oil, and imports made 0.97% in 2003.

"There are numerous opportunities to expand our economic co-operation, above all in science and technologies, industry and strategic areas. We are in turn ready to establish stable business ties with Russian partners," said Shrinivasan. In his words, at issue is, in particular, pharmaceutics, bio-technologies, and healthcare.

"We need a more intensive exchange in each of these domains. We should regularly exchange visits and participate in exhibitions. Now we want to arrange a large-scale exhibition of Indian produce in Russia. We also intend to help Russian companies organise displays of their produce and services at exhibitions we hold in India. We need to create a system of interaction between separate companies," he stressed.

"Russian institutes have unique technologies, and they can be forwarded to India as a basis for joint ventures and joint work," said the expert.

According to Shrinivasan, a special working group is now formed within the confederation to collect information about high technologies developed in Russian research institutes, which might arouse interest in India. He added that all the preliminary talks had already been conducted; enormous organisational efforts had been taken, including with governmental structures so the group will be finally formed within the next few weeks.

"There is a long-term programme of economic co-operation between India and Russia in science and technologies. This is a governmental programme. We are working in this context, attracting the private sector as well," he explained.

"There is good will on the Russian side. Russia is quite positive about working with us. Now we are trying to win mutual trust," said Shrinivasan.

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