ASSOCHAM Interactive Session with the Tula Region, Russia: Opportunities for Collaboration

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

On September 9, 2020 an interactive session was organized by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and the Government of the Tula Region,between India States and Indian Industry and the Tula Region of Russia. The participants at the Webinar were presented with opportunities for collaboration and potential economic synergies between Indian States and Industry and the Tula Region.
The webinar focussed on interregional cooperation between Indian States and Industry and the Tula Region of Russia and deliberated on how to provide a necessary fillip to cooperation between India and the Tula Region of Russia during pandemic crisis and on ensuring business continuity between the two special privileged and strategic partners.
The webinar was graced by the following distinguished participantsfrom India and Russia:

Mr. Aseem Vohra,
First Secretary, Embassy of India, Moscow, Russia
Mr. S.K. Jindal, Chairman, National Council of Commodity Markets, ASSOCHAM & Chairman, Jindal Exports & Imports Private Limited
Mr. Dushyant Thakor, Vice President, Invest India (States Team)
Ms. SumitaSoni, Young Professional, NITI Aayog,

From the States:
Dr Nitin B. Jawale, Managing Director, IPICOL, Odisha
Mr. Abhishek Krishna, Joint CEO, MIDC, Maharashtra
Ms. Neelam Rani, Managing Director, iNDEXTb, Gujarat
Mr. RamachanderPoodipeddy, AVP, Guidance, Govt of Tamil Nadu,

From Russia we had the following speakers:
Dr Alexander LeonidovichRybas, Trade Commissioner, Trade Representation of Russia to India,
Mr. Marcel MaksimovichKepteinar, Minister of Economic Development, Tula Region,
Mr. Pavel Tatarenko, Deputy General Director for Investment, Investment Department, Tula Region Development Corporation,
Ms. Olga Kulikova, Member of General Council of All Russia public organization Business Russia, Business Ambassador to India,

Indian Industry was represented by the following persons:
Mr. Prabh Sharan Singh, Secretary Northern Region, Indian Chemical Council (ICC),
Mr. Valentine Romanov, Executive Director, SUN Group,
Mr. Ankur Wadhwa, Senior Manager Regulatory Affairs, Sun Pharma,
Dr Vinod Verma, Vice President – Group Corporate Affairs, Aditya Birla Group,
Mr. Samar Shakil, Director, Sky Mining Services Private Limited, were part of the panel.

The following companies also participated– ITC, Asian Paints Limited, Tata Steel and others.
In his opening remarks, Mr. S.K. Jindal welcomed the participants, thanked the Tula Region government for giving ASSOCHAM this opportunity to organize the Webinar and reiterated the importance of India-Russia relations.

“India-Russia partnership is based on similar civilizational values, time-tested friendship, historic milestones, unparalleled mutual respect, and trust, common interests, and concurrence on fundamental issues of development and global affairs,” Mr. Jindal opined.
He reiterated that India and Russia have collaborated in defence, nuclear energy and space, but now we are seeking to increase the economic content of our collaboration to include sectors like agriculture, chemicals, FMCG, Food processing, coal, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, digital & IT sectors, exchange of skilled manpower, and cooperation between the regions.
Ms. Olga Kulikova, Business Ambassador to India from Business Russia shared her perspective on the regional cooperation and expressed how significant it is, given the long relations and geographical positions of India and Russia.
She stated that Business Russia has pan Russia presence and the Tula Region is an important component of it.
“With Business Russia working closely with ASSOCHAM, we can make Russian companies meet regional businesses of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Orrisa, and Tamil Nadu for future collaborations,” Ms. Kulikova added.
Mr. Marcel MaksimovichKepteinarfrom the Tula Region government talked about the trade figures between India and Russia. He stated that India and Russia recorded a trade of USD 11 billion in 2019, which is 2.3% more than it was in 2018. Exports from Russia to India were around USD 7.3 billion and imports were around USD 4.0 billion. Overall trade between India and Tula region for the first half of the year is USD 15.9 million for which Tula region exports to India amount to USD 11.2 million and imports amount to USD 4.7 million.
He enumerated the main commodities trade between India and the Tula Region: imports from India to Tula comprised Food Products, Nuts, Chemicals, Plastic, and the export basket includedChemicals, Fertilizers and Medical equipment.
“We are ready to increase our exports to India and apart from the common commodities of exchange, we have more to offer such as steel, agricultural products, confectionary products, etc.” Mr. Kepteinar added.
Mr. Dushyant Thakor spoke about Invest India the investment promotion agency of India. He also mentioned that the special Russia-focused desk at Invest India – ‘Russia Plus” which was announced by the hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi at St Petersburg during the Annual Bilateral Summit between India and Russia, set up at Invest India three years ago. Russia Plus provides end to end facilitation to Russian Investors for investment into India, and offers business advisory, policy guidance, location assessment, and assistance with regulatory clearances.
“Collaboration between Indian States and Russian Provinces can diversify and strengthen the Indo-Russian partnership,” Mr. Thakor further added.
Mr. Thakor further highlighted the significant and appreciable development made by Gujarat, Orissa, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu in terms of improving the ease of doing business and promoting Single-Window System. He also highlighted the tremendous development made by the Tula region in terms of improving the ease of doing business.

There are various synergies between India and Russia interms of interregional cooperation.
Dr Alexander Leonidovich Rybas encouraged Indian States and Indian Industry to collaborate with the Tula Region in Russia in the priority areas of metallurgy, chemicals, agriculture, and mechanical engineering.

Mr. Aseem Vohrapointed out that the Tula Region gave the world Leo Tolstoy and that today was his birth anniversary.
He appreciated the zeal shown by the leaders of both countries to strengthen and further evolve the bilateral relations between India and Russia, that has been reinforced by regular engagements between the leaders of India and Russia even during the pandemic of COVID-19.
He further highlighted the initiatives takenby the Government of India such as extending the line of credit, amounting to USD 1 billion toIndian businesses willing to explore and invest in Russia.
Mr. Vohra stated that interregional cooperation between India and Russia is important and thanked Indian States - Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Odisha for participating at the Webinar and raising the bar of the interaction.  It shows willingness to strengthen interregional cooperation between India and Russia, which will be the Next Big Thing.
“Engagement in sectors such as food processing, agriculture, infrastructure, medical equipment, and education will further strengthen the strategic India-Russia cooperation. Various leading hospitals in India are willing to explore the opportunities offered by the healthcare sector of Russia,” Mr. Vohra added.
Presentations highlighting the investment opportunities available, benefits offered to the investors, and the conducive business ecosystem were made by both sides.
The Tula Region and Indian States made presentations on the investment ecosystem in their respective region and States
The Tula offers a conducive ecosystem for investments. It offers a strong network of logistics, tax benefits, favourable infrastructure for business, professional resources, and competent governance: Mr. Pavel Tatarenko, Deputy General Director for Investment, Investment Department, Tula Region Development Corporation.
The Indian States highlighted the political will and stability, and investment ecosystems, focus sectors, infrastructure, and network available in each State that make the environment for collaboration and investment beneficial and easy.
Mr. Pavel Tatarenko represented the Tula region, whereas Indian states were represented by Dr Nitin B. Jawale, Managing Director, Industrial Promotion & Investment Corporation of Orissa Limited (IPICOL), Odisha, Mr. Abhishek Krishna, Joint CEO, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), Maharashtra, Ms. Neelam Rani, Managing Director, Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb), Gujarat, and Mr. RamachanderPoodipeddy, Associate VP, Guidance, Tamil Nadu Government.
Mr. Samar Shakil highlighted the prominent points shared by the panellists and deliberated over the sectors of interest from both sides.
“Every challenge comes with a hidden opportunity. The COVID-19 disruption has given us the opportunity to do away with what has not been working and adapt our systems to changed external environment, forcing us to be bolder in our outlook and firm in our economic choices,” Mr. Shakil added.
He concluded the interaction by thanking all the panellists and attendees.
The session was moderated by Ms. Aarati Sharma, Director, International Affairs Division, ASSOCHAM.
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