India’s trade with Russia increased by more than 30 per cent last year, touching $11 billion for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Bilateral trade grew by an impressive 32.5 per cent in January-November and will have zoomed from $8.9 billion in 2011 to $11 billion in 2012 when the December figures are available, according to India’s Ambassador to Russia Ajai Malhotra.

“This marks the fastest growth in India-Russia trade in recent years and is especially noteworthy given the global economic slowdown and the marginal decline in India’s overall trade during 2012,” Ambassador Malhotra said at a flag hoisting ceremony at the Indian embassy in Moscow on Saturday.

The two countries have set the goal of boosting bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2015.

The Indian Ambassador also revealed that the Russian tourist flow to India increased by 22 percent last year. In 2011 the Indian embassy simplified visa rules for Russians, which led to a surge in the number of Russians visiting India. Last year the Indian consulates in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok issued 160,000 visas, a jump of 50 percent on 2010.

Despite biting cold hundreds of Indian nationals gathered on the embassy grounds to celebrate the 64 Republic Day. After the ceremony children of the embassy school sang some patriotic songs. Later in the day the Russian dance group “Nritya Sabha” gave a concert of classical Indian dance at Moscow’s prestigious Higher School of Economics.

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