Chandigarh, Oct 7 (IANS) Russia has expressed disappointment with the current level of trade and investment with India and identified 'infrastructural constraints' as the chief obstacle in realising the full potential of economic relations between the two countries.
'The current volumes of trade and economic cooperation between our countries are not commensurate with the extraordinary level of strategic partnership,' Russian Ambassador to India Vyacheslav I. Trubnikov said at a seminar here.
During 2005, the Russian-Indian trade turnover reached only $3.1 billion - that is several times less than India has with other large countries such as USA, China, Britain and Germany, he said.
'Investment cooperation between India and Russia remains small with Russian investment in India making up less than one per cent of the total investment over the last decade while Indian investments in Russia are limited by only few large projects,' the Russian envoy said here Friday.
Total volume of Indian investment in Russia amounts to some $2 billion while Russian investment does not exceed $160 million.
Trubnikov identified future areas of investment - in the production of bio-products and medicines, development of India's power sector, mining, production of materials for electronics and software, joint manufacturing of aircraft and space research.
He also said there are 'brilliant prospects and vast opportunities' for cooperation in many crucial sectors like electronics, biotechnology, communications, infrastructure development including construction of highways, ports, airports and metro, extraction and transportation of hydrocarbons and pipeline laying.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Russia for a bilateral visit in December last year and discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin an array of regional and global issues, including intensification of trade and investment between the two countries.
'Our potential has not yet been fully realised,' the Russian envoy said at a seminar on 'Russian-Indian economic relations: Problems and prospects'.
The Russian envoy identified 'several natural and artificial obstacles' hampering the expansion of commercial opportunities.
'First and foremost, it is the deficient infrastructure, both physical and organisational,' he said, underlining the need for expediting the large-scale commercial functioning of the North-South International Transport Corridor connecting South Asia with Russia and the countries of Western Europe.
Trubnikov also elaborated on the importance of 'Russia's fast accession to the WTO' in facilitating 'better and broader access of Indian goods to the Russian markets'.
India and Russia have 'successfully completed the bilateral negotiations with India regarding Russia's joining the WTO', but the pace of negotiations with other countries has been slow, he said.
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