Sushma, Russia DyPM review progress in bilateral trade, investment, culture

sushma-swaraj-moscow External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj | Reuters

After the much hyped 2+2 dialogue with United States in the national capital, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held discussions with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov in Moscow.

Both leaders reviewed the progress made in the bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, science and technology, culture, and other issues of mutual interests.

The meeting gained prominence in the backdrop of India signing defense agreements like communication secrecy agreement—Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)—in the maiden ministerial level meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis with Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

A week after the crucial Indo-US meet, Sushma Swaraj landed in Moscow to attend 23rd India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Technical and Economic Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC). The meeting, taking place a month before the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to New Delhi in October,

emphasises New Delhi's age-old ties with Russia, which has been India's strategic partner for long.

"India and Russia enjoy a special and privileged strategic partnership. This partnership has strengthened over time and covers a vast agenda involving almost all sphere of human activity. India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Russia," Sushma Swaraj said in Moscow during IRIGC-TEC meeting, adding that the "deputy prime minister and I have conducted a comprehensive review of our relations. I am satisfied with the outcomes of our meeting. The commission has met in the run up to the 19th India-Russia Annual Summit which is expected to be held in India early next month. Both sides are currently working to prepare for this summit."

She also said in her statement that in 2017 annual trade between India and Russia has reached $10.17 billion. “We discussed ways and means to increase this momentum, ensure balanced trade, and remove barriers to trade,” she said.

"Two-way investments have already crossed the $30 billion target, which we had set for 2025. We have therefore proposed that we enhance this figure to $50 billion by 2025," she said. Both countries have agreed to organise the first ever India-Russia Business Summit involving major companies from both sides in early October in India.

During Putin's October visit, India and Russia will going ahead with the S-400 air defence system , Kamov 226 and three frigates contract, which can be seen as a' balancing act' by the government. However, there is no clarity on waiver from United States on purchases from Russian under CAATSA.