Regional news: India

Madhya Pradesh Minister Invites Russian Business to Collaborate in Рharma, Other Industries

The Russian business delegation visiting India has a sizable representation of small and medium businesses from 30 regions, as both the countries look to diversify trade through the MSME sectors.

Several Indian states have expressed interest in bolstering business ties with Russia, amid a coordinated push by New Delhi and Moscow to diversify the trade basket beyond traditional areas of defence, civil nuclear and space cooperation.

Om Prakash Sakhlecha, a cabinet minister of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, has told Sputnik that there are "massive opportunities" for developing cooperation between Indian and foreign companies in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, food processing and textiles.

Sakhlecha is the minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Science and Technology. He was a keynote speaker at the opening of the office of the honourary representative of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (RF CCI) in New Delhi. The RF CCI is leading a large business delegation to India from 3 to 7 April.

What Makes Madhya Pradesh Lucrative Investment Destination

Sakhlecha told Sputnik that the manufacturing base in India has been growing at a fast pace in recent years, crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 'Make in India' push for the growth.

The state minister was particularly upbeat about the growth in pharmaceutical sector.

The central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh alone accounts for 21% of the country’s pharmaceutical production, as per official figures. India is currently the biggest supplier of low-cost generic drugs in the world.

Last July, the federal government announced three schemes aimed at bolstering participation of MSMEs in the lucrative sector.

"The MSME sector is one of the strong areas of the Indian economy. It’s contribution to the Indian GDP is among the highest among all sectors. It is also a key driver of employment," the minister explained.

Besides the different federal incentives for MSMEs, the state government was also providing subsidies to about 40−48% of these industries.

Sakhlecha said that Madhya Pradesh was a "lucrative" investment destination, as he highlighted the huge reserves of raw material and a "big talent pool" were major draws for foreign investors.

The minister underlined that the state was centrally-located and connected to major hubs through rail, road and air.

"When any investor sets up a business, they look at opportunities in terms of the local market as well as export facilities. We can deliver anything to 70% of India’s population within a span of 12 hours," he explained.

Sakhlecha noted that the state ranked third among all the Indian states for ‘Ease of Doing Business'.

Besides Madhya Pradesh, the coastal state of Goa was also represented at the forum by Digambar Kamat, a former chief minister and a sitting state legislator.

Kamat told the Russian businesses that he would like to "invite" them to the state, particularly for collaboration in the pharmaceutical and tourism sectors.

The ex-state chief drew the example of the coastal state of Goa which is a popular destination for Russian tourists and has maintained strong flight connectivity with major cities.

Trade ties between New Delhi and Moscow broke all previous records in 2022−23, topping $ 35 billion.

The upswing in trade ties has been driven by increasing Russian energy exports, with Moscow overtaking New Delhi’s traditional energy suppliers to rank as the top source of crude oil for India, the world’s third-biggest energy consumer.

For the first time in history, Russia ranks among the top five trade partners of India.