India's approval of Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the joint commitment of both countries to increase their bilateral trade to $10 billion by 2010 has been welcomed by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
Prior to the disintegration of the former Soviet Union in 1991, India's exports to Russia were dictated by India's strategic interests and Indian exports to the Soviet bloc were intended to service debt repayments for the import of defence equipment and spares.
Trade between the two declined for a while after break up of the Soviet Union and trade statistics show an erratic pattern. According to the FIEO, Indian exports to Russia have declined in the last decade. The export growth of around 17 per cent in 1997-98 over 1996-97, was reversed the following year (1998-99) with a decline of around -26 per cent.
In 1999-2000, Indian exports to Russia again swung up by around 34 per cent and then began falling to -6per cent in 2000-01, -10 per cent in 2001-02 and -11 per cent in 2002-03.
Then, once again in 2003-04 negative growth was arrested and Indian exports showed positive growth of around 1.5 per cent, followed by 2005 showing a negative growth of over -15 per cent. Indian exports to Russia vis-à-vis India's global exports has declined from 2.7 per cent during 1997-98 to 0.7 per cent in 2004-05.
In recent months, India and Russia have attempted to mend their derailed trade ties. The two have now set up a joint study group to draw a blueprint to take bilateral trade to $10 billion by 2010.In comparison, India's bilateral trade with China reached $18 billion in 2005.
To supplement the government's efforts, FIEO has taken the initiative to organise multi-product exhibitions in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2006 to promote the "brand India" consciousness for Indian goods and services in the Russian market.
also see : China's
trade growth with India exceeds its global trade growth