From the advent of the USSR till the recent Russia- Ukraine crisis, the world’s largest democracy and the city of St. Petersburg have maintained close ties with each other. Whether it is supplying crude oil or extending support in UN resolutions, India and Russia have been a sigh of relief for each other. To continue this friendship, a freight train to cater to the country’s needs is just another step toward amity.
Russia and India transit cargo journey
On 12 July, the first rail transit cargo from Russia to India entered Iran via the Sarakhs border crossing. The Russian transit is carrying 39 containers and will be travelling 3,800 kilometres through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to enter Iran. It will be transported to Bandar Abbas port in southern Iran through a 1600 km rail route, and then will be finally sent to India’s Nhava Sheva Port of Maharashtra via sea.
The Russian train was granted permission to enter the Iranian border in a ceremony attended by First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber along with transport, oil, industry, and agriculture ministers as well as the vice president for science and technology. While speaking at the event, Mokhber focused on the country’s efforts toward expanding its trade relations with neighbouring countries. He also opined that the transit capacity of Iran has increased “to 20 million tons and by planning and taking appropriate measures, transiting 300 million tons of commodities per year can be reached.”
The freight train journey is an attempt towards building a stronger trade bond between India and Russia. India and Russia are already catering to the trade needs including machinery, nuclear reactors, steel, iron, coffee, tea, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, fertilizers, apparel, industrial metals, and spices among others. In addition, the recent transit development between the two powers will not only strengthen the relationship but will also give them an edge against their common enemy dragon.
Corridor for India- Russia Trade
India and Russia are countries that are continuously challenging the world, one with its economy and the other with its strategic power. Being among the powerful nations, both share a common trait of endless competitive adversaries, which propels them to fight with the supposed supremacy of the west.
For the fulfilment of this goal, it’s important for them to collectively retaliate. For which, a multi-modal International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) was formed in the early 2000s and an agreement was signed on 16 May 2002 between Russia, Iran, and India. It paved the way for an expanded relationship between the three and ultimately resulted in a prosperous trade benefit among them.
Moreover, the INSTC’s fully functional multi-modal corridor fulfilled India’s most needed requirements. It facilitated the uninterrupted and cheap supply of oil and gas from Russia, thus breaking the monopoly of the US and Gulf in the crude oil market. To sum it up, India and Russia are incessantly working for mutual prosperity with a single-handed objective of developing their sovereignty.
trade relations between India and Russia
The aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led the former to consequent sanctions imposed by the Western countries, Russia suffered unprecedented financial and economic declutch. However, India stood by the country’s side by uniquely supporting and simultaneously safeguarding its interests. The bilateral trade relationship between the world’s largest democracy and the eastern European king can be considered a move toward this mutual strategy.
Going on the figures, the bilateral trade between April 2020 and March 2021 amounted to US $ 8.1 billion. In addition, Indian exports amounted to US $ 2.6 billion while imports from Russia amounted to the US $ 5.48 billion. In relation to this, a number of institutionalized mechanisms have been set up for the development of economic cooperation between the two powers.
During 2021- 2022, India’s imports from Russia rose to $8.69 billion, which is 58 percent higher than the total imports of $5.48 billion recorded in the financial year 2020- 2021. On the other hand, Indian exports to Russia rose to $3.18 billion from April 2021 to February 2022, from $2.65 billion recorded in 2020- 2021.
All these figures contribute to the incessant economic upswing between the world’s second most populous country and the world’s largest country by size. While India is looking at its close relationship with Russia to isolate China, Russia itself is looking to use it to battle the recurrent western interference. The perpetual bond between Moscow and New Delhi has not just made them best friends but has also given an answer to the supposed land of liberty.
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