New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Sochi Summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin next week could unveil a new chapter in bilateral trade relations, India's apex trade group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said on Thursday. At the invitation of Russian President Putin, Modi will visit Russia on May, 21 wherein the two leaders will exchange views on international matters in a broad and long-term perspective with the objective of further strengthening the "Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership."
"The planned visit is as an astute step to cultivate and nurture India's geo-strategic and economic interests with all important global powers. Russia, with proven technological prowess across sectors, is ideally placed to partner with India for realizing the hitherto unexplored business and investment opportunities," Rashesh Shah, President, FICCI said on Thursday.
Data from India's Ministry of Commerce shows that last year, the bilateral trade witnessed a 21.4% jump year-on-year and reached $9.4 billion. India imports Russian goods worth $6.5 billion, while its exports to Russia were worth $2.9 billion. It is expected that economic relations will be discussed at length during the Sochi Summit especially following the protectionist measures taken by the US and China.
"The Sochi Summit, coming soon after the successful engagement between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, underlines the rising clout of India as an economic and global force. The Sochi Summit could prove to be path-defining in Indo-Russian relations against the backdrop of China's increasing global clout and protectionist approach affected by the US in recent times," the FICCI statement reads.
The heads of state are meeting face-to-face for the first time in eight months, but have made several phone calls during this period to discuss every contour of the relations between Moscow and New Delhi. The previous talks were held in September 2017 on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in China's Xiamen.