NEW DELHI: The India-Russia energy partnership can bring stability to the global energy market, while the International North-South Transport Corridor will bring the two countries closer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday.
In a virtual address at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) being held in Vladivostok, Modi said the friendship between India and Russia has “stood the test of time”, as reflected by recent cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic, including in the field of vaccines.
EEF is an international meet held annually in Vladivostok to encourage foreign investments in Russia’s resource-rich but underdeveloped Far East. Russia has actively wooed India to invest in the region, and Modi had announced a $1-billion line of credit for the Far East while speaking as the chief guest at the last EEF meet in 2019.
“Energy is another major pillar of our strategic partnership. India-Russia energy partnership can help bring stability to the global energy market,” Modi said in his address.
Noting that petroleum and natural gas minister Hardeep Puri is in Vladivostok to represent India at EEF, Modi said Indian workers were participating in gas projects in the “Amur region, from Yamal to Vladivostok and onward to Chennai”.
He added, “We envisage an energy and trade bridge. I am happy that the Chennai-Vladivostok maritime corridor is making headway. This connectivity project, along with the International North-South [Transport] Corridor will bring India and Russia physically closer to each other.”
Modi said state-run Mazagon Docks Limited, one of India’s largest shipyards, will partner with the Russian ship-building facility at Zvezda to build “some of the most important commercial ships in the world”. India and Russia are partners in space exploration through the Gaganyaan programme, and the two sides will also partner in opening the Northern Sea Route for international trade, he said.
Lauding President Vladimir Putin’s vision for developing the Far East, Modi reiterated India’s commitment to act as a reliable partner for Russia as part of the “Act East” policy.
Modi stressed the importance of greater economic and commercial engagement between the two countries in line with their special and privileged strategic partnership. He highlighted the health and pharmaceutical sectors as important areas of collaboration that emerged during the pandemic, and referred to other potential areas of economic cooperation such as diamonds, coking coal and rare earth minerals.