India and Russia two of the world's biggest emerging economies, on Tuesday vowed to further boost bilateral trade between the two countries, with special focus on partnerships in nuclear energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and core infrastructure.
"We should convert the challenges of the global economic crisis into opportunities by taking a proactive approach," Indian commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said in Moscow at the third meeting of the India-Russia Forum on trade and investment, attended by over 350 industry leaders from the two countries.
Russia's deputy prime minister, Alexander Zhukov, asked the business heads to leverage each other's strength. Russia's vast mineral and energy resources and cutting-edge technology combined with India's highly developed IT sector and auto component industry can easily push bilateral trade to $10 billion in the near future, he said. The current figure stands at $7 billion.
The two countries set the ambitious goal of doubling the two-way turnover to $20 billion by 2015. "Trade is forecast to reach $8.4 billion in 2009, and we are able to fulfil the task set by the two countries' leaders to push trade to $10 billion in 2010," Zhukov said.
According to the deputy prime minister, who opened the one-day forum, bilateral trade with India had been on the rise in the past few years despite falling exports, owing to the large volume of high-technology exports. Indo-Russian trade increased by 17 per cent in the first half-year of 2009, Zhukov said.
''India is one of the very few countries with whom Russian trade is growing, rather than declining this year,'' he told the forum, held in Moscow's newest and choicest hotel, Ritz Carlton.