New Delhi: Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Valentinovich Manturov on Monday expressed his desire to boost trade with India in order to balance Russia's merchandise trade deficit with India.

"That's one of the issues which we just discussed with your colleague, so because of lack of input from India, it's not enough to use the Rupee so we need to boost the trade from India and then in this case we are looking at balance like for example, we have with China. We have USD 200 billion trade with China, and it's balanced," said Manturov on the India-Russia trade and payments issue.

India and Russia are discussing a free trade agreement, a move that would further deepen bilateral commercial ties that have flourished since war broke out in Ukraine.

Notably, the China-Russia trade surge has increased the use of the Chinese renminbi. China's total exports to Russia grew to USD 76.12 billion in 2022, representing an increase of over 12 per cent compared to a year earlier.

Russia's economy has been hit by Western sanctions due to its invasion of Ukraine, resulting in increased use of the Yuan.

The shift has made Russia a rare example of a country adopting the renminbi rather than the US dollar or euro as a reserve currency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in March endorsed the broader international use of the renminbi. As he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said that he supported "the use of the yuan in payments between Russia and countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America," reported TASS.

Manturov is on a two-day visit to India to co-chair the Intergovernmental Russian-Indian Commission, which is aimed at enhancing trade ties between the two countries.

On the first day of his visit, Manturov co-chaired the 24th India-Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC)

The IRIGC-TEC is the primary institutional mechanism supervising economic cooperation. It integrates six working groups on economic and trade cooperation, modernisation and industrial cooperation, energy, tourism and culture, science and technology, and IT.

A plenary meeting of the intergovernmental commission (IGC) will be held on Tuesday, following which the co-chairs will sign the final protocol of the 24th IGC meeting.

Both sides plan to discuss the issues of bilateral trade, and economic and humanitarian cooperation. Manturov will also hold a number of bilateral meetings, the Russian Embassy in India said in a tweet.

A number of institutionalized mechanisms have been set up for the development of economic cooperation between the two countries. The primary institution at the government level is IRIGC-TEC.

Last month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Manturov co-chaired the virtual meeting of IRIGC-TEC.