Russia: At the St. Petersburg Forum, Putin can count on the Indian presence.
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Published on 18.6.2022 by Come basin
This Saturday, June 18, the International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg, Russia ends. If Western countries boycotted this meeting, because of the war in Ukraine, India was present. New Delhi shows its willingness not to let Western sanctions hinder the development of its trade relationship with Moscow.
The fact that the Minister of Health represents India in Saint Petersburg owes nothing to chance. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, New Delhi has increased the share of Russian oil in its hydrocarbon supply from 1% to 18%.
For Biswajit Dar, specialist in world trade at JNU University in New Delhi, this forum is an opportunity for India to establish itself in return on the Russian market.
” Due to the sanctions, the Russian market suffers from shortages, he explains. India has a very diverse manufacturing sector. It could in particular supply medicines, but also electronic equipment to Russia. »
To circumvent sanctions-related banking hurdles, Moscow and New Delhi are discussing a new ruble-to-rupee payment mechanism.
” India’s trade balance with Russia is very negative, recalls Biswajit Dar. But this could be compensated by Russian investments in rupees in India “, he adds.
Former ambassador to Russia and national security adviser, PS Raghavan justifies the Indian diplomatic position: “ If even India aligns itself with NATO and Western sanctions, we will push Russia into the arms of China. However, such a hostile Russia-China axis would not benefit anyone! »
While India is also facing significant inflation, few voices are raised in the political class against this commercial rapprochement with Russia.
Divergences on the assessment of the Russian economic situation
Under Western economic sanctions, the Kremlin continues to assert that Russia is resisting, unlike Europe and the United States, which would suffer more from their own retaliatory measures.
These remarks provoked strong reactions at the St. Petersburg Forum, where several officials have aired their disagreements on Russia’s economic policy since the invasion of Ukraine.
The governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, Elvira Nabiullina, calls for a structural “perestroika”, that is to say a reconstruction of the economy. It paints a much darker picture of the current situation than that presented by Vladimir Putin’s entourage.
The boss of the Central Bank points to inflation, with a price increase close to 18%. She is also worried about the fall in GDP, which she forecasts at -10% over one year, unlike the Kremlin which announces a decline of only 5%.
Finally, Elvira Nabioullina regrets that the Russian economy is too heavily dependent on oil and gas, a sector very exposed since the conflict in Ukraine.