Indian natural stone exporters have mounted a concerted drive to win a share of the booming Russian market of granite and marble.
Fifteen Indian companies displayed a variety of stone products and processing technologies at the 10th international Expostone-2009 held here on June 23-27. The first big-time Indian participation in the annual Russian stone show offered a welcome contrast to the depressing indifference of Indian business towards Russia.
Indian exports of natural stones to Russia increased from less than million in 2005-2006 to nearly million last year.
The total value of Indian stones sold in Russia is believed to be three times as high, but the bulk of them reach the Russian market through China and other countries.
Indian granites and marbles were used to decorate the newly built metro in Kazan and many public and private buildings in Russia.
"Our immediate goal is to win the Russian market from other exporters of Indian stones," said Chairman of Granite, Natural Stones and Products Panel at CAPEXIL, R. Veeramani, who led the Indian delegation.
The U.S. and Europe have been the main markets for Indian stone exports, valued last year at .35-billion, but the current economic meltdown has badly hit the Indian stone industry. The Russian market of natural stones, buoyed by a construction boom, has been growing by 5 to 10 per cent in recent years.
Mr. Veeramani, who heads the Chennai-based GEM Granites, said India had to work hard to catch up with Chinese and Western companies in Russia.
"Unfortunately, Indian business missed its chance to come to the Russian market when it opened up in the 1990s, and has lost it to the West and China," he told The Hindu.