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PM Modi joins President Putin’s dream project to develop Russia’s Far East

A file image of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok (Image courtesy: PIB)

Calling Vladivostok a 'sangam' (confluence) of Eurasia and the Pacific, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday applauded Russian President Vladimir Putin's vision for the development of the country's Far East and said that New Delhi will remain Moscow's reliable partner in realising this dream.

Almost exactly two years after he became the first Indian PM to address the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), Modi addressed the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) once again today, this time virtually.  

In September 2019, PM Modi had said that together, India and Russia will cross the distances of space and also bring out prosperity from the depths of the sea. On Friday, he reiterated India's commitment to the 'Act Far-East Policy' which remains an important part of the special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia.

"The friendship between India and Russia has stood the test of time. Most recently it was seen in our robust cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic including in the area of vaccines. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the health and pharma sectors in our bilateral cooperation. Energy is another major pillar of our strategic partnership," he said.

The Indian PM recalled the boat ride with Putin from Vladivostok to Zvezda where the Russian President had shown the modern ship-building facility and expressed hope of India's participation in the enterprise.  

"Today I am delighted that one of India's biggest ship yards Mazagon Docks Limited will partner with Zvezda for construction of some of the most important commercial ships in the world," Modi announced.

He also highlighted that India and Russia are partners in space exploration through the Gaganyaan program and also in opening of the Northern Sea Route for international trade and commerce.

"I am happy that the Chennai-Vladivostok Maritime Corridor is making headway. This connectivity project along with the International North-South Corridor will bring India and Russia physically closer to each other," said PM Modi.

Envisaging an energy and trade bridge in the coming times, India is also exploring new opportunities in agro industry, ceramics, strategic and rare earth minerals, diamonds timber and long term supply of coking coal to the Indian steel industry.

PM Modi's call for greater economic and commercial engagement between the two sides is in line with the further development of the India-Russia relations of the special and privileged strategic partnership.

Last week, during a telephonic call, both leaders had noted the importance of coordinated efforts which would contribute to the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan, ensuring security in the region as a whole.  

Modi and Putin had agreed to form a permanent bilateral channel for consultations on the Afghanistan issue and expressed intention to enhance cooperation on countering the dissemination of the terrorist ideology and the drug threat emanating from the territory of Afghanistan.  

As reported by India Narrative in July, a much-anticipated trilateral cooperation initiative between longstanding and time-tested partners India, Russia and Japan is also taking shape in the Russian Far East.

With the Sakhalin's oil fields being a classic example, India has already declared that it will be an active participant in the development of the regions of its friendly countries according to their priorities.

"As I said at this forum in 2019, Indian talent has contributed to the development of many resource-rich regions of the world. India has a talented and dedicated workforce, while the Far-East is rich in resources. So there is a tremendous scope for the Indian workforce to contribute to the development of the Russian Far-East," PM Modi said today.

Also Read: India-Russia-Japan partnership in the Russian Far East can be a game-changer in the post-pandemic world