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Mr Chandrajit Banerjee Director General, CII:
 The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is delighted to participate in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum for the second consecutive year. CII’s engagement with Russia has been intense and productive over the years through direct presence as well as constant interaction with various Russian institutions.

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Today, India is growing at over 8% annually and is expected to sustain this pace for the next few decades. Globalisation is a major facet of our growth model and increased economic cooperation with Russia, a large and fast-growing economy, is central to our external engagement. The two countries enjoy significant synergies such as large domestic markets, rapidly growing per capita income, strong higher education, excellent science and technology talent, acknowledged strengths in innovation and advanced manufacturing, and other areas.

Possible sectors of collaboration are many. In agriculture, processed foods, plantation products, and grains have high trade potential. Textiles and apparel can benefit from our booming markets. In pharmaceuticals, India is emerging as the world’s pharmacy and can supply high quality competitive drugs to Russia. Many other manufacturing and services sectors offer above-average benefits for trade, investment and joint ventures, such as chemicals and fertilizers, automotives, aviation equipment, leather, tourism, higher education, etc., besides the high technology and knowledge economy sectors.

CII has worked closely with Russian industry and organizations to strengthen bilateral business to business cooperation to leverage commonalities. Going forward, a multi-pronged spectrum of new initiatives is envisaged that will further catalyse bilateral economic partnership. The CII Russia Country Committee is being formed to promote bilateral investments particularly from India to Russia and to take business engagement to sub-regional levels. Enhanced sectoral delegations are planned for leveraging specific opportunities. Dialogue and interactions with our MoU partners will be vastly stepped up. It is critical to bridge information and awareness gaps through such efforts.

To take India-Russia economic cooperation to a higher trajectory, certain procedures and systems would have to be identified for rapid action and simplification. Financial and transportation gaps would need to be addressed. We strongly believe that an India-Russia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement will go a long way towards strengthening the strategic partnership. The SPIEF offers a new dialogue on these issues and sets the pace for greater interaction. CII remains committed to Russia and looks forward to perspectives emanating from the SPIEF.