New Delhi: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov on Monday, said that his country is looking forward to intensifying negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India.

Addressing the Russia-India Business Dialogue, Manturov who is also the Russian minister of industry and Trade said, "Together with Eurasian Economic Commission, we are looking forward to intensifying negotiations on Free Trade Agreement with India."

The visiting Russian minister said that Moscow is interested in a quality increase in trade.

"Additionally, we are working on signing of Russia-India Bilateral Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments," Manturaov said at the event which was organised jointly by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Russia-India Business Council.

To protect the principles of free trade with its partners, Russia has undertaken a set of effective measures, including import preferences and mechanism that guarantee the protection of investments will be in demand among Russian and Indian businessmen, Maturaov said.

Manturov, who arrived in New Delhi earlier today said this in his address to the Russia-India Business Dialogue. He stated that India can become one of the key partners within the framework of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

Notably, INSTC was agreed upon in 2000 and ratified in 2002 by India, Iran, and Russia, and trial runs were conducted in 2016.

"Also, we believe that it is important to expand direct air connectivity - this is a necessary condition for regular exchange of business delegations, an increase of mutual tourist flow," he said.

Laying out the challenges faced by Russia, Manturov said that Covid-19 had led to logistics disruptions. He pointed out that "one-sided illegitimate sanctions by Western states against Russia provoked systemic problems on the global markets."

"It led to the acceleration of inflation in many countries. Also, it created difficulties for international transport flows, cargo insurance, and the conduction of financial transactions," he said.

He also stated that despite the dramatic scenarios, Russia's GDP last year decreased by merely 2 per cent. Inflation did not exceed 12 per cent, and now this indicator stands at 3.2 per cent (year on year). Unemployment also is at the historic minimum of 3.7 per cent.

The Russian minister said that "the margin of safety in his country's economy, and prompt measures" taken by his government provided for "quick adjustment to new realities."

The visiting minister stated Russia is not planning to "fence" themselves off from the rest of the world, stating that such a measure is unrealistic and not feasible economically to substitute everything in all sectors of industry.

"We do not have such goal to achieve complete self-sufficiency - it is a dead-end, leading eventually to the loss of competitiveness," he said.

"As far as certain components and technologies are concerned we will definitely rely on trusted foreign partners. We are working in this manner with our Indian friends for decades. We will put maximum efforts to expand our cooperation ties. Exchange competencies and experience in the most perspective technological areas," he said.

Within the framework of the intergovernmental dialogue, Manturov said Russia proposes to consider the possibility of the wide use of national currencies and currencies of friendly countries. This, he said, will allow the minimization of expenses and currency risks.

Manturov further said that it is important to expand air connectivity, a necessary condition for regular exchange of business delegations and increase of mutual tourist flow.

The Russian trade minister also invited Indian business partners to visit the international industrial exhibition INNOPROM, which will take place on July 10-13 in the city of Ekaterinburg.

"And certainly we are expecting the Indian delegation at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum this June and at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September," he said.