A high-level seminar on “India-Russia in the 21st Century: Strengthening the Special Strategic Partnership” was held in New Delhi, India, on 13-14 September 2018. Yuri Kofner, economist with the MIWI Institute for Market Integration and Economic Policy gave a presentation on the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the potentials of comprehensive trade and economic cooperation between India and EAEU.
A high-level seminar on “India-Russia in the 21st Century: strengthening the special strategic partnership” was held in New Delhi, India on 13-14 September 2018. The event was organized by the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation and the Russian International Affairs Council and was held at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial.
The expert discussions focused on how India and Russia should implement new cooperation in sectors such as: free trade, transport and logistics projects, digital technologies and soft power. This is necessary to meet the demands of modern geopolitics and to give a new impetus to the strategic partnership between Moscow and New Delhi in the greater Eurasian space.
Yuri Kofner, economist with the MIWI Institute, spoke on the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the potentials of comprehensive trade and economic cooperation between India and the EAEU.
Participants at the high-level workshop included: Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas; Prof. K. Dr Vijay Raghavan, Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister of India; Dr Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister of India; Dr Swapan Dasgupta, Member of the Indian Parliament; Dr Sudhir Mishra, Director General, Brahmos Military Space Complex; Ambassador Gleb Ivashentsov, Vice-President, RIAC; Dr Shakti Sinha, Director, Nehru Memorial Museum Library; Dr Anirban Ganguly, Director, J. N. S. Gandhi Library; and Dr M.S. Kumar, Director, J. N. S. Gandhi Library. Dr Anirban Ganguly, Director, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation (SPMRF); Vijay Chauthaiwale, Chairman, Foreign Policy, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); Ambassador Asoka Mukherjee, b. Representative of the Mission of India to the United Nations; Andrey Shevlyakov, Director General, Rosatom South Asia; and others.
The seminar lasted two days and was divided into several sessions on economic, military, political and humanitarian co-operation, respectively.
The session on Indo-Russian economic co-operation and the geo-economy of Greater Eurasia was opened by Dipanjan Roy Chowdhury, Lead Editor of Economic Times, who gave a summary of an interview he conducted with Tigran Sargsyan, Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission, on how “the Eurasian Economic Union aims to sign a major trade deal with India”.
Ambassador Asok Mukherjee outlined a roadmap for co-operation between India and Russia in the Russian Far East. According to him, it should include:
- Modernisation and utilisation of the Chennai port and the Chennai-Vladivostok sea route through the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca;
- Creating business linkages for export of raw materials from Siberia to India (diamonds and other minerals);
- Identifying agricultural co-operation as a priority in the Russian Far East;
- Participation of Indian SMEs in 16 projects submitted by the Russian Far East to the AIIB.
Yuri Kofner made a presentation on “Prospects for EAEU co-operation with India: trade, connectivity and public diplomacy”. Despite the fact that both sides are potential major markets for each other, the current trade turnover is insignificant (only USD 10.8 billion in 2017), which means, however, that there are large untapped opportunities for trade growth in the future. Following the signing of the planned EAEU-India FTA, trade turnover between the parties could grow by 30-40% from current levels, depending on the depth of tariff liberalisation. The total GDP growth of the EAEU countries could be around USD 1.4 billion in the short term and USD 2.4 billion in the long term. The total GDP growth of the EAEU countries could be around USD 1.4 billion in the short term and USD 2.7 billion in the long term. In the long term, it could be USD 2.7 billion. Liberalisation of the current trade regime could help boost India’s GDP by over 3%.
The Economist believes that the envisaged partnership between India and the EAEU should go beyond the “traditional” free trade agreement to include co-operation in areas such as: services, intellectual property, digital economy, investment, transport, energy, and government procurement.
Unfortunately, more detailed studies of the challenges and potentials of expanding trade and economic co-operation between India and the Eurasian Economic Union are still relatively rare. Workshop participants agreed that special attention should be paid to econometric modelling, bottleneck analysis and analysis of business interests on both sides.