Mr. S. M. Krishna, External Affairs Minister, India: I welcome the initiative of the Business Council for Cooperation with India to launch the magazine «Russia and India: to the Future Together» on the occasion of the convening of the 16th Session of India -Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation and the 4th Session of India-Russia Forum on Trade & Investment.
India and Russia are strategic partners and traditional friends. Both our countries are large and rapidly growing economies. There are several areas, where we have strong complementarities and the potential for enhanced cooperation. Post-Independence, India benefited significantly as a result of cooperation with the Soviet Union. Today, as Russia seeks to modernize its economy, I have no doubt that India will prove to be a strong and reliable partner. Indian companies, both private and state-owned, have the capacity to invest and also have the technological edge in several sectors. India can be a source for technology in the areas of IT, financial services, pharmaceuticals and hydrocarbon processing. It can also be a reliable partner for long-term arrangements in the area of hydrocarbons, diamond processing and agriculture production. The possibilities are endless and the potential is huge.
The key to realisation of this huge potential for enhanced economic cooperation lies in the establishment of new direct business-to-business contacts. I am happy that the Governments of India and Russia have undertaken several initiatives to promote new contacts and wider cooperation between commercial and industrial circles and business associations of the two countries. These include the establishment of India-Russia Forum on Trade and Investment and the CEO's Council. Further, Government of India has also decided to enhance its participation in the Annual St.Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). I am glad that the first ever Russia-India Business Dialogue was also organised within the framework of SPIEF 2010 in June this year. Our efforts are already yielding results which are evident in growing bilateral trade and investment. We shall need to continue this tempo if we are to achieve the target of a trade turnover of USD 20 billion by 2010.
It is also important for us to work together in creating an environment where our business people feel welcome in each-other's countries and are comfortable in making long-term investments. In particular, we need to create greater mutual awareness about the economic systems of the two countries. I am sure that the magazine launched by Business Council for Cooperation with India can play an important role in this regard by providing timely information on bilateral economic issues, and acting as a platform where experiences about current and prospective bilateral cooperation projects can be shared.
I take this opportunity to wish the magazine the very best in its endeavours, and hope that it will promote and chronicle the growing trade and investment cooperation between India and Russia for many years to come.