Mandaviya says European firms exiting Russia, ‘India should encash’ chance

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A number of European companies are exiting Russia and India should “encash this opportunity”, said Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mansukh Mandaviya, as he urged businessmen of Gujarat to “immediately” visit the country.

“A number of European companies are exiting Russia. The Russian government has told me that if India comes, then the opportunity will be made available to them,” Mandaviya, who recently headed the Indian delegation to the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, said during his visit to the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Tuesday. The forum, held about a week ago, was boycotted by many western countries due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

“This is an opportunity. If anyone can encash this opportunity, it is the ecosystem in Gujarat,” he told businessmen at GCCI. Assuring to make the necessary arrangements for the Russia visit, Mandaviya said the delegation of businessmen from Gujarat could be headed by state Industries Minister Jagdish Vishwakarma.

The comments from the Union minister come at a time when India is already buying discounted crude oil from Russia. “It is an apt time to encash the opportunity,” he reiterated, adding that there were lucrative business opportunities in Russia awaiting Indians. Mandaviya was speaking at an interactive session on ‘Role of chemical and pharmaceutical industry to achieve USD 5 trillion economy’ at GCCI.

Talking about his experiences at World Economic Forum held earlier this year, the Union minister said he defended India’s export ban on wheat and told the nations present at the forum that countries manufacturing fertilisers “took advantage of the situation” and increased the prices of fertilisers.

He said India never raised the prices of medicines during the Covid pandemic. “We could have taken advantage of the situation and Indian companies could have raised their prices. But we didn’t,” Mandaviya said, pointing out how India reached out to hundreds of countries that needed medicines to counter Covid.

Speaking during the interactive session after the minister’s speech, former GCCI president Natubhai Patel said Gujarat can offer high-quality textiles and pharmaceutical products to Russia. “Between 1990-95, when our economy was faced with a crisis, it was Russia who stood by us. It is during that time, a number of pharmaceutical companies came up in Gujarat. So, when Russia has extended its hands again, then, apart from discounted crude oil, we also have opportunities in pharmaceuticals, chemicals and textiles,” Patel added.



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