Russia, India consider ‘green corridor’ to boost trade

Cargo containers are seen stacked outside the container terminal of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai, India © Shailesh Andrade
With trade between Russia and India far below its potential, the two countries are contemplating creating a ‘green corridor’ for the smooth transit of goods, India’s business newspaper the Economic Times reported.

The idea to ease customs procedures was proposed by Russia’s Federal Customs Service and discussed during Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin’s meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

"The main advantage of the 'green corridor' is that goods being transported by entrepreneurs will not have to undergo customs inspection and examination when crossing the border -- measures now commonly used to minimize risks. This also applies to documents," explained a person familiar with the matter.

The two countries want to create a list of entrepreneurs or companies whose goods will be exempt from regular customs inspections. It is also assumed that green corridor participants would have a separate post and a special inspector at the customs terminal.

The volume of current Indo-Russian trade is about $10 billion and the countries have set a goal of tripling it over the next ten years. Moscow and New Delhi also want to significantly boost mutual investment.

READ MORE: Moscow and New Delhi transitioning to trade in national currencies - Indian ambassador

The sides are currently developing a road map for mutual trade settlements in national currencies. They have already chosen priority sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, jewelry, technical equipment and machinery, oil and gas, and textiles.

Russia is considering participating in the “Made in India” program designed to transform India into a global manufacturing hub. Last month both sides expressed interest in expanding cooperation in different sectors including mining, fertilizers and civil aviation.

India wants to jointly develop iron ore and coal mines in Russia. Indian investment in the sector could reach $15 billion in the next five years, according to India's Minister of Industry and Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow last December, a number of multi-billion dollar defense and nuclear energy deals have been signed. India has approved the purchase of five S-400 air defense systems from Russia which is part of the biggest arms deal between the two countries in a decade.