India’s increased bilateral trade and new areas of cooperation with Russia is not a temporary phenomenon, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar has said.

“For long, we have looked at Russia from a political or security perspective. As that country turns eastwards, fresh economic opportunities are presenting themselves. The spike in our trade and the new areas of cooperation should not be regarded as a temporary phenomenon,” Jaishankar said speaking at the CII Annual Business Summit 2024 on Friday.

Russia climbed past the UAE and the US to become India’s second largest import source in 2023-24. India’s imports from Russia increased 32.93 per cent to $61.43 billion, propelled mostly by oil.

More partnerships

An economy with India’s prospects has to look at accessing global resources more seriously if it is to fuel its growth, the Minister said. “Many other recent partnerships also offer such possibilities, such as those with Australia and with Latin America, in addition to established ones like Indonesia, Africa and West Asia,” he added.

Indian embassies will also continue extending their fullest support to our economic and employment interests abroad. “On my part, I can certainly assure that the business delegations will continue to accompany me on travels abroad and that, we, in MEA, will facilitate B2B2G events,” he said.

With geopolitical instability, including the Russia-Ukraine war and crisis in the Middle East, rocking the global economy, for India, the task was to mitigate its impact on itself and contribute to stabilising the world to the extent possible, the Minister said.

Time has now come for India to start re-engineering the logistical map of the world, Jaishankar. Some steps have already been taken, such as the International North-South Transport Corridor that also involves the Chabahar port. “A more ambitious project is on the anvil in the form of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), which was agreed to during the G20 Summit last September. One has the goal of taking us all the way to the Baltic and the other, takes us all the way to the Atlantic,” he said.