Russia and India are strengthening their ties despite the anti-Russian sanctions which have been imposed by the West. In an interview with Sputnik, Russia’s Ambassador to India, Denis Alipov, told about the results of the XIV BRICS Summit, relations between Moscow and New Delhi, and opportunities for Indian businesses in Russia.
According to Alipov, the XIV BRICS Summit held on June 23 this year was another significant step in the development of the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa] grouping, which in essence reflects the formation of a new reality in international relations – the transition from a unipolar system to a polycentric world order.
The important thing is that, against the backdrop of geopolitical collisions, the five countries send a powerful message of common understanding of global processes – from reforming the multilateral system of economic governance to the situation in disarmament and non-proliferation, information security, counter-terrorism and other challenges.
He also noted that there was a “clear consensus” against arbitrary sanctions, which are the exclusive prerogative of the UN Security Council.
“We also shared a disapproval of the distorting effects of any discriminatory measures in international trade, which mainly affect developing countries,” he said.
As a main target, the Ambassador named building a smooth and reliable system of mutual settlements as an alternative to a compromised mechanism based on the dominance of the US dollar.
“We suggest developing a new international currency, to connect the banks of the BRICS countries to the Russian System for Transfer of Financial Messages, SPFS (a SWIFT analogue), to integrate national payment systems into a unified network for cross-border clearing settlements,” he announced.
Speaking on the BRICS’ plan to expand in the near future and whether ther is such, Alipov specified that the interest of like-minded countries in the “Five” is proof positive of how inclusive the association is.
“Its openness to cooperation with all constructively minded partners, ready to seek answers to the challenges which are facing the international community at present,” he said.
The Ambassador mentioned the necessity to think in detail about the principles, standards and procedures of such a process, but stated that the main thing is that “the accession of new members will help to increase the effectiveness and practical impact of the “Five’s” activities.”
As for the partnership between Russia and current members, in particular, with India, he noted that it rests “on a deep strategic foundation, drawing its strengths not only from strong historical roots, but also on a coinciding vision of the future world order.”
“As you see, the external conjunction is incapable of affecting our relations in any meaningful way. We have regularly seen evidence of this in statements by the Indian leadership in recent months,” he assured.
Moreover, he said that India understands “the background of the present geopolitical and geo-economic situation and the forced nature of Russia’s actions in Ukraine”, so the country does not support attempts to isolate Russia in multilateral forums and is critical of the West’s wish to reduce the international agenda to the conflict in question, ignoring other key global and regional problems, “which the West itself has exacerbated significantly.”
“The pressure exerted by the West, aggressively imposing its conditions about who one can and cannot be friends with, causes the rejection of such diktat,” he said.
Going further speaking about the countries’ cooperation, Alipov noted that the India-Russia partnership operates on all sorts of levels, expanding cooperation in communications, diamond processing, forestry, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, tourism, railroads, metallurgy, civil aviation, shipbuilding and oil refining. Also, military and military-technical cooperation is being strengthened, as he specified.
“The dynamics of bilateral trade speak for itself. According to India’s statistics, from January to April 2022, it amounted to $6.4Bln. This is almost twice as much as for the same period last year. If we maintain these volumes throughout the year, we will have a turnover of more than $19Bln by the end of 2022. To put this in context, let me remind you that in the previous year we had an absolute record of $13.6Bln,” the Ambassador said.
He also spoke about good prospects for Indian pharmaceutical products, leather and textiles, agricultural goods, components for machinery and equipment, telecommunications equipment, organic chemistry products.
“We expect growth in mutual turnover of services in such sectors as tourism, finance and insurance, telecommunications and information technology, transport and construction. We have great hopes for the implementation of the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project,” he said.
The diplomat noted that the withdrawal of many western companies from the Russian market opens up many new opportunities for Indian businesses, and the Russian business community is very serious about strengthening ties with India.
“Russia invites Indian companies in the aviation and metallurgical industries, in the wood-processing chain, and firms producing consumer goods for business cooperation,” Alipov said.
The Ambassador ended the interview saying that India is “an incredible country, an ancient civilization that combines centuries-old traditions and modern trends, the diversity of cultures, languages and beliefs” and is “the brightest embodiment of the formula of unity in diversity.”