In order to gain access to Russian markets, Moscow requested a list of Indian products, according to Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Monday. India is trying to reduce its growing trade deficit with Russia at a time when Moscow is experiencing severe shortages of essential materials due to Western sanctions.
As a result of the sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported last week that Moscow had handed India a list of more than 500 products for possible delivery, including parts for vehicles, airplanes, and trains.
Russia has long been India’s top supplier of military hardware, and it ranks as the country’s fourth-largest market for pharmaceuticals.
But with India’s purchases of Russian oil soaring and coal and fertilizer shipments also strong, the South Asian nation is looking for ways to rebalance trade. “We have given Russians a set of products which we believe we are very competitive in and which we feel should be getting access to the Russian market,” Jaishankar told reporters in a briefing with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, who is on a visit to India. The minister added that discussions on expanding trade have been going on for some time, even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
“We will see where there is a demand and supply and there is a fit. I think a large part of it would be determined by the market,” Jaishankar added.
The administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has significantly increased its imports of Russian oil, which has helped Russia withstand some of the effects of sanctions by preventing it from publicly criticizing Moscow for the war in Ukraine.
In order to balance the bilateral trade, which is now skewed towards Russia, Jaishankar stated during a visit to Moscow in November that India needed to increase exports to that country.