NEW DELHI: India will participate in Russia’s biggest manufacturing sector exhibition, Innoprom, as the partner country in this year’s edition to be held from July 10-14, a development that comes close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Tashkent where expanding bilateral economic partnership was a key item on the agenda of discussion. An Indian delegation led by the minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman will take part in the mega fair to be held in Russia’s Ekaterinburg city, officials said. India hopes to gain from this meet as the Modi government focuses on providing a boost to the manufacturing sector in the country.

China was the partner country at the exhibition in 2015. The officials said the delegation will comprise chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan; representatives from Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand; secretary, Department of Heavy Industries; and executives 100 business firms.

“Having great economic power with its more than 1.2 billion people India will be put in the spotlight at the Russian leading industrial trade fair. This is going to offer enormous sales potential for Russian and international exhibitors of Innoprom,” a statement from the organisers of the exhibition said. “At the same time, entrepreneurs from India who exhibit at Innoprom gain broad access to new global markets,” it said.

Russia has been keen to expand trade and investments with its old ally India. This was evident from President Putin’s statements at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum and later during his meeting with the Indian PM on June 24.

Indo-Russian economic partnership has not kept pace with the strong bilateral political and strategic ties. India has been expanding its presence in the hydrocarbon sector in Russia, besides eyeing entry into the Eurasian market through Eurasian Economic Union and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Innoprom has been held in Ekaterinburg since 2010. This year’s themes include sustainable integration of industrial production and data transfer based on the Internet of Things (IoT) technology; new manufacturing system architecture; international production cooperation: resources, combining production facilities and development centres dispersed across the world in a single network and new model of efficient manufacturing for traditional industries.

On July 11, an India-Russia business forum will be attended by Russian and Indian authorities and major business leaders.