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From oil to BelAZ trucks: What business ties will strengthen Belarus-India cooperation

Politics 11.09.2017 | 10:40
Vitaly Prima
Vitaly Prima

NEW DELHI, 11 September (BelTA) – Belarus and India plan to sign new agreements worth millions of US dollars, Belarus' Ambassador to India Vitaly Prima said ahead of the Belarusian-Indian business forum and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's official visit to New Delhi, BelTA has learned.

According to the diplomat, the two countries have recently intensified their trade and economic cooperation. “Several years ago the two countries developed a roadmap to step up cooperation in the mining industry and interregional ties. Today we can talk about concrete results and promising projects that will be implemented in the near future and will create a basis for our further sustainable trade and economic development,” the Belarusian ambassador said.

There are good prospects for the supplies of equipment for the Indian mining industry. Several years ago due to different circumstances the Indian market was almost lost for BelAZ vehicles. Recently, however, the supplies have resumed and the Belarusian equipment proved its efficiently for the Indian climate. As a result, in May 2016 a service center for BelAZ haul trucks was opened in Nagpur, the state of Maharashtra. The parties are currently talking over the setting up of a plant to assemble Belarusian haul trucks in India.

According to the ambassador, India plans to announce a tender to purchase haul trucks with the carrying capacity varying between 150t and 220t. “According to our information (the tender has not been announced yet), it will make up about 250 vehicles,” Vitaly Prima said. The Belarusian producer will be aimed at winning the right to deliver at least a part of the order.

The two countries are also discussing promising projects in the agricultural mechanical engineering. The Belarusian agricultural machines manufacturer Gomselmash jointly with DVR Infratech Private Limited set up a joint venture, Gomselmash-India, in India in June 2017. The prospects of the company will be discussed at the forthcoming business forum in New Delhi. “The major goal is to start advancing our grain and fodder combine harvesters to the Indian market with the plans for local production,” the ambassador said.

Another project under discussion is the joint production of tractors in India. “The Belarus brand is well-known in India. We believe that the joint production of tractors will find its place on this huge market,” the diplomat said.

Joint companies to assemble other Belarusian products, including MAZ, are also viewed as promising projects.

Belarus' main exports to India are potash fertilizers. In August 2017 BPC signed a contract with Indian Potash Limited on the delivery of 700,000 tonnes of potash muriate before 30 June 2018.

India also shows interest in the practices of Belarusian oil-industry workers. In August 2017 Belorusneft successfully completed the first joint project to rehabilitate Digboi oil field. The company is working to open a representative office in India.

In 2017-2018 the two countries plan to launch a number of joint pharmaceutical manufacturing projects in Belarus to produce medications to treat cancer, tuberculosis, HIV, and hepatitis.

According to Vitaly Prima, the Indian government has set an ambitious task which is to transform India into an international industrial hub. A number of programs have been developed to place India on the innovative track, attract new technologies and investment.

Belkommunmash in cooperation with an Indian partner is getting ready to bring its innovative electric bus to the Indian market.

Belarus and India also develop relations in the construction, light industry, science and technology, culture and tourism sectors.

Speaking about the business forum in New Delhi on 11 September, the ambassador noted that the event is held in cooperation with three India's biggest business associations. More then 20 documents worth millions of US dollars are expected to be signed. “We plan to conclude a number of memorandums, agreements and contracts on the delivery and joint production of mining and agricultural equipment, the pharmaceutical industry, oil extraction, tourism and education,” Vitaly Prima said.

In 2014-2016 the annual Belarusian-Indian trade stood at about $400 million, with Belarus' posting a trade surplus. In January-July 2017 the mutual trade totaled $228.5 million.

An additional impetus to the bilateral economic cooperation is also seen in the format of the Eurasian integration. On 3 July 2017 a joint statement was signed to start the talks on the conclusion of the free trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and India.

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