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Russia, India to bolster trade ties amid Western sanctions

MOSCOW, August 12. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia and India are planning to diversify trade ties, at a time when the United States and the European Union are imposing economic sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

Prospects for further cooperation were discussed by Russian and Indian experts at a Moscow-New Delhi teleconference on Tuesday.

“Our countries are strategic partners. The Indian side understands what is happening [in view of the situation in Ukraine] and has not joined sanctions against Russia,” said Tatyana Shaumyan, head of the Center of Indian Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Oriental Studies.

She said it was especially important for Russia to cooperate within the BRICS developing-nation assembly of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa as Europe and the United States were trying to escalate economic pressure on Moscow.

Boris Volokhonsky of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies said: “Russia and India have a number of long-term projects which can be implemented.”

He said that the two countries were engaged in active negotiations about extending the Altai gas pipeline from Russia through China to the Indian border, and about building a pipeline to carry Turkmen natural gas across Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, known as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

India is interested in developing energy cooperation with Russia while the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union can give a new impetus to these relations, said Professor Arun Mohanty of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

“Besides energy, we can cooperate in industry, pharmaceuticals and diamond processing, and we should not forget about prospects in military and technical cooperation,” he said.

“India supplies agricultural products to many countries,” the professor added. “We can supply them to Russia as well, particularly fruit.