Modi and Putin discuss trade, energy and food markets – The New Indian Express

By Express press service

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. The two leaders discussed the state of world energy and food markets in the context of the Ukrainian crisis, in addition to ways to strengthen bilateral trade in sectors such as agricultural products, fertilizers and pharmaceutical products.

Modi also reiterated India’s longstanding position on the situation in Ukraine and favored dialogue and diplomacy to resolve it, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The two leaders also agreed to maintain regular consultations on global and bilateral issues, he added.

“The two leaders reviewed the implementation of the decisions made during President Putin’s visit to India in December 2021. In particular, they exchanged ideas on how bilateral trade in agricultural products, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals could be further encouraged,” the statement said.

The Kremlin said Modi and Putin discussed “topical” issues relating to bilateral relations, paying “particular attention to the further development of mutually beneficial ties in the economic field”. Putin stressed that Russia “has been and remains” a reliable supplier of grain, fertilizer and energy to India, among other nations.

The Kremlin statement said the two leaders also expressed their mutual intention to strengthen the special strategic partnership between Russia and India. Regarding the global food crisis, the Kremlin said that Putin “has drawn attention to the systemic mistakes made by a number of states, which have led to the disruption of the entire architecture of free trade in food products and caused a significant increase in their cost”. The “illegitimate sanctions” against Russia have exacerbated an already difficult situation and the same factors have had a negative impact on the global energy market, he added.

The Modi-Putin phone talks, the fourth this year, took place days after the prime minister attended the G-7 summit in Germany. The two leaders last spoke on March 7.

Push for port link
On Wednesday, Putin had strongly pushed the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) as a key connectivity link between Russia and India via Iran at the 6th Caspian Summit held in Ashgabat.

The 7,200 km long “transport artery from St. Petersburg to Iranian and Indian ports”, as he described it, can transport goods between St. Petersburg in Russia and Indian ports in just 25 days, at instead of 40 days.
A test load (of two 40ft containers of wood laminates) on the INSTC was shipped earlier this month from St Petersburg and is expected to reach the Nava Sheva terminal in Mumbai next week.

It will take 25 days and reduce transportation cost by $2500 per 15 tons of cargo. “India sees INSTC as a viable alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. India’s ability to have seamless access to Chabahar and its freight forwarding facilities is critical to viability of INSTC,” sources said.

  • Main exports from India: electrical machinery, pharmaceuticals, boilers, iron and steel, organic chemicals, fish, tea, coffee, spices
  • Main imports from India: crude oil, coal, soybean oil and fertilizers
  • India’s crude oil imports from Russia have increased 50 times since April
  • 10% of India’s crude oil imports come from Russia
  • 0.2% was Russia’s share of India’s oil imports before the Ukrainian conflict

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