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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Indian Ambassador Takes Up Moscow Post

Ronen Sen has come a long way since his first Moscow posting as a novice diplomat in the political section in 1968. This month, Sen arrived in Moscow to take up his new position as India's ambassador to Russia.

The 48-year-old envoy also served here as minister counselor of the political section from 1981 to 1984.

Sen's impressive credentials as a career diplomat and foreign policy advisor under five Indian presidents should help him attain his country's goal of promoting vigorous commerce with Russia.

Sen, who served as ambassador to Mexico until September, hopes to capitalize on his experience in Russia and the historically close alliance between the former Soviet Union and India.

Whereas India welcomes the emerging democracy here, Sen said that economic reforms in Russia and India have affected the two nation's economic links.

In the days of the command economy, prescribed quantities of specific products were exported and - imported between Russia and India.

"Intergovernmental protocol used to govern trade between our two countries", he said during a recent interview. "Now the command economy has been replaced by various enterprises, which has disrupted trade. That has left India with fewer orders from one of its biggest clients for tea, tobacco and consumer goods".

At the same time, India has imported less oil, metals and defense technology.

While India used to import about four million tons of crude oil annually from the former Soviet Union, the number dropped to a low of 60, 000 tons last year. Sen said.

Sen also intends to pave the way for Indian business executives to form partnerships and invest in commercial enterprises here, he said.

Diplomacy will be focused on those goals, a high priority for India's government, especially in view of President Boris Yeltsin's scheduled visit to India in January, Sen said. The results should be beneficial for both countries.

"India is one of the biggest markets in the world, partly because of our large population and also because of the growing middle class", Sen said.

India's buying power could help stimulate production for Russia's sagging economy, he said.

Although Sen diplomatically declined to comment on the political turmoil in the Kremlin, he said, "It is our opinion that Russia should remain strong".

"Whatever changes take place here, they should occur smoothly and in a peaceful manner", he said. "Any instability in such a vast country as this will have effects elsewhere".

He also noted the "disturbing trend toward ethnic and religious conflicts in the former Soviet Union".

Although his government's top priority is commerce, Sen said his country is also mindful of humanitarian issues here and seeks to expand contacts to tackle those issues as well.