Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is successor body to the USSR, which was established in 1991. After the dissolution of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), 15 countries came into existence to form CIS for constant collaboration in trade and military policy and recognition of borders. But presently only 12 countries are the members of CIS which is Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Relations between India and CIS countries have remained cordial since the Soviet era. But after the dissolution of Soviet Union commercial relations have not grown commensurately with the new states. The main reasons this are: distance, language barriers, inadequate transit facilities, inadequacy of information about business opportunities, macro-economic instability, modest progress made both in liberalization and privatization, lack of direct and regular interaction among the business entities & inadequate banking facilities in the CIS Countries. Presently, CIS constitutes only 1.2 per cent share in India's total exports. Among the major trading partners, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus constitute more than 90 per cent of India's total bilateral trade with the CIS countries.
India has huge potential for growth in CIS countries. Presently we are taking part in various forums in CIS countries and conducting exhibitions, networking and touring trade delegations to explore the business opportunities. CIS Programme was launched by Commerce & Industry Minister. The main purpose of the programme is to enhance India's trade with CIS countries.
The main exported items from India to CIS region are tea, woolen goods, cosmetics, readymade garments, leather goods, chemicals, jute manufacture, cotton yarns, machine tools, machinery, pharmaceuticals, plastic products, rice, electronic goods, instruments, and chemicals etc.
In spite of a trade agreement being signed, India's trade with Armenia after independence has been immaterial. Exports from India to Armenia in 2002 were worth US$ 5.6 million. Main exported items from India are car batteries, chemical goods, pharmaceuticals, and electrical equipments. The low volume of trade is probably due to Armenia's low accessibility.
Georgia's economy has traditionally revolved around Black Sea tourism, cultivation of citrus fruits, tea and grapes; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing wine, metals, machinery, chemicals, and textiles. The country imports the bulk of its energy needs, including natural gas and oil products. Its only sizable internal energy resource is hydropower.
Trade relations between India and Georgia were established in 1992. It was agreed that there would be cooperation within the framework of Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation. Trade turnover between India and Georgia in 2006 was US$ 20,521,700. Laws on tariffs have been simplified and so far the trend has been such that India's exports to Georgia have been more than Georgia's exports to India.
Politically, India has friendly relations with Ukraine. Ukraine has been positively co-operating with India at the international level. The trade relations between both the countries have been developing at a very fast pace. In March, 1992 the Treaty on Friendship and Co-operation was signed between India and Ukraine, providing a major boost to India-Ukraine trade relations. More than 17 bilateral agreements have been signed between India and Ukraine, including agreements on Co-operation in Science and Technology, Foreign Office Consultation, Co-operation in Space Research, Avoidance of Double Taxation and Promotion and Protection of Investments. There has been a threefold increase in the India Ukraine trade during 2003-2005 and it has exceeded US$1 billion. Ukraine imports from India have doubled and stand at US$ 3,214 million in 2006.
India is one of the most important trading partners of Belarus in the Asian region. India’s export to Belarus is less than import. India ranked 20th among the largest trading partners of the Belarus in 2012 and the bilateral trade totaled $ 494.6 million. Over 90 Belarusian products worth $ 262.2 million were shipped to the Indian market. Exported items from India to Belarus are medicine and pharmaceutical substances, raw tobacco, tea, sea products, spices, nuts, vegetable oils, chemical products, cotton yarn, transformers and other goods.
Diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan were established on 28th February, 1992. India’s bilateral trade with Azerbaijan has been growing steadily in recent years. Main items of direct and indirect imports from India are clothes and textiles, tea, meat, food processing equipment, electronic cards, boilers, automobiles and mobile telephone handsets and other plant equipment. India’s pharmaceutical sector is also well known in Azerbaijan and many Indian pharmaceutical companies are represented in Azerbaijan.
After the disintegration of the USSR, close relationship inherited between Russia and India. Bilateral trade between both countries is concentrated in key value chain sectors which include highly diversified segments such as machinery, electronics, aerospace, automobile, commercial shipping, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, apparels, precious stones, industrial metals, petroleum products, coal, high-end tea and coffee products.
Currently, India is the world's largest cutting & polishing centre for diamonds. Both countries have agreed to streamline their bilateral trade in diamonds through reductions in regulations and tariffs.
Kazakhstan is the largest economy in Central Asia and the second largest (after the Russian Federation) amongst the Commonwealth of Independent States. Bilateral trade between India and Kazakhstan increased from USD 120 million in 2005 to USD 210 million in 2006. This showed a slight decline to USD 196 million in 2007. However, the two way commercial exchanges grew and remained steady at around USD 300 million over the last few years rising to around USD 500 million last year. The main segments of exports from India include pharmaceuticals, coffee, tea, spices, textiles and apparel.
At present, the Indian-Kyrgyz trade relations are negligible. Trade turnover between Kyrgyzstan and India totaled $23.56 million in 2011 and in 2010 it had not exceeded $13 million. The main obstacles to the Indian-Kyrgyz trade relations are tough competition with China, Turkey, and CIS countries, as well as long trade routes, lack of direct air communication, and difficulties in obtaining Kyrgyz visas.
For improving Indian-Kyrgyz trade relations and investment the Indian delegation has offered following suggestions:
Indian exports include clothes, textiles, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, electric appliances, electronics, organic chemicals, cosmetics, and equipment.
India-Moldova relations are friendly and cordial. India recognized Moldova on December 28, 1991 and diplomatic relations were established on March 20, 1992. Bilateral Trade and Investments during 2013-14 reached US$ 10.99 million (India's exports were US$ 10.47 mn and imports were US$ 0.52 mn). Major exported items from India are pharmaceuticals, food products, beverages and tobacco, vegetal products, textiles and machines.
The bilateral trade relations between India and Tajikistan have developed considerably owing to both nations' co-operation on security and strategic issues. India has set up its first overseas military base in Tajikistan.
Tajikistan is one of the poorest nations in the world. Despite their common efforts, bilateral trade has been comparatively low, valued at USD 12.09 million in 2005; India's exports to Tajikistan were valued at USD 6.2 million and its imports at USD 5.89 million. To expand economic co-operation and trade, Tajikistan and India established an inter-governmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical co-operation and have encouraged investment and trade in hydroelectricity, transport, mining, food processing, construction and tourism.
India has excellent trade relations with Turkmenistan. Total trade between India and Turkmenistan increased to US $45.05 million in 2007-08 from US$31.18 million in 2005-06. The main items that India exports to Turkmenistan are electronic goods, machinery and equipment, readymade garment (RMG) cotton, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals, meat and meat products, RMG man-made fiber, RMG silk and sugar.
Bilateral trade relations between India and Uzbekistan are managed by the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation which was signed in May 1993. Bilateral relations are control through a robust mechanism including a Joint Commission, which oversees trade and economic relations. Main exports to Uzbekistan from India include drugs, other pharmaceutical products, paper, wood products, machinery, garments & fabrics, tea, plastic items, chemicals, surgical items and consumer goods.