India and Russia agreed to set a bilateral trade target of $100 billion by 2030, up from about $65 billion at present, and focus on increasing Indian exports to Russia to achieve a more balanced and sustainable trade, at the annual summit chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

“Our talks covered ways to diversify India-Russia cooperation in sectors such as trade, commerce, security, agriculture, technology and innovation. We attach great importance to boosting connectivity and people-to-people exchanges,” according to a post by Modi on social media platform ‘X’ on Tuesday.

The Indian PM, whose two-day visit to Moscow on July 8-9 is the first since Russia attacked Ukraine in February 2022, was also awarded the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, the highest state order of the Russian Federation by Putin.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi received it (the award) for outstanding services in developing the special & privileged strategic partnership between Russia & India and friendly ties between the Russian & Indian peoples,” according to a social media post by the Russian Embassy in India.

The two sides noted with satisfaction the significant growth of bilateral trade in 2023 which is around double of the bilateral trade target of $30 billion set by the leaders for 2025, per the joint statement issued following the 22nd India Russia annual summit meeting.

“To achieve balanced and sustainable bilateral trade in long term, the leaders stressed the need to increase Indian exports to Russia through strengthening industrial cooperation, forging new technological and investment partnerships, especially in advanced high-technology areas and finding new avenues and forms of cooperation,” the statement noted.

Putin and Modi also visited the Atom Pavilion at Moscow’s All-Russian Exhibition Center. “Energy is an important pillar of cooperation between India and Russia and we are eager to further cement ties in this sector,” Modi posted.

The two countries are in talks to construct six high-power nuclear power units as part of a new project as well as developing low-power nuclear plants in India, according to the Russian Embassy.

At an meeting with the Indian community in Moscow, Modi described Russia as a trusted ally and all-weather friend. He also announced the opening of two new Indian consulates in Kazan and Yekaterinburg to promote travel and trade.

Following the West’s sanctions on Russia to punish it for its attack on Ukraine, India’s oil purchase from Russia, offered at a cheaper price, increased several fold pushing its total imports from the country to about $61 billion. However, its exports to Russia are at about $4 billion leading to a trade deficit of more than $56 billion.

For eliminating the non-tariff and tariff barriers in trade, including protective measures and administrative barriers, the leaders appreciated the initial meeting in March 2024 to commence full negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement on goods between India and the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia). “The Leaders also directed their relevant officials to explore the possibility of commencing negotiations for signing a bilateral free-trade agreement in services and investments, “ according to the joint statement.