India vows enhanced trade and investment in Russian Far-East

New Delhi: India on Monday underlined its commitment to enhanced trade and investment in the Russian Far-East with the two countries identifying sectors such as energy, maritime connectivity, healthcare and tourism as areas of further cooperation in that region.

A joint statement issued after in-person talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin here said the two nations also agreed to continue discussions on the operationalisation of the USD 1 billion Line of Credit announced by Modi in 2019 for development of the Russian Far-East.

Modi and Putin underscored the need for greater economic cooperation and in this context emphasised on new drivers of growth for long-term predictable and sustained economic cooperation.

The two sides noted that bilateral trade does not reflect the potential of strength and depth of India-Russia strategic partnership.

“The leaders stressed on the need for greater efforts to achieve the trade target of USD 30 billion by 2025. In this regard, they placed strong emphasis on new drivers of growth for long-term cooperation,” the statement said.

During the summit, the two sides underscored the need for commencement of negotiations on a trade agreement between India and The Eurasian Economic Union.

A mutually beneficial MoU for reliable long-term supplies of coal to India for steel production was also signed.

Discussions were held on production of specialty steel under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in India, and utilisation of technologies from Russian state steel institutes for steel production in India by private and public sector companies.

They also welcomed the meeting of the 1st Working Group on Coking Coal in virtual format in October, 2020.

The leaders welcomed the signing of an Agreement of Intent between Indian PSUs and Russian company PhosAgro for supply of fertilisers in the period of 2021/2022 calendar years.

They also appreciated the rapid recovery of collaboration in diamond sector between the two countries, following the initial downturn witnessed during the pandemic.

The two sides recognised the need to further streamline and fast-track the process of customs clearances of cargoes.

In this regard, they agreed to replace the discussions on ‘Green Corridor Project’ with an Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) and an MoU on exchange of pre-arrival customs data. The two nations also agreed to commence talks on this at the earliest.

The Indian side encouraged participation of Russian companies in 13 key sectors of the PLI scheme under the ‘Atmanirbhar’ and ‘Make in India’ programme, the statement said.

The two nations urged the corresponding ministries to finalise negotiations of the Bilateral Investment Treaty in a spirit of mutual understanding in order to protect mutual investments.

They welcomed the signing of the MoU on cooperation in the field of intellectual property between Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce, India and Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Russian Federation.

The leaders welcomed the preparation of a bilateral document in the area of civilian shipbuilding which will facilitate enhancement of interaction and specialist training, investments in ship-building and repair, scientific research, development of intelligent transport and navigation systems, international transport corridors.

Putin welcomed Modi’s commitment to an Act Far-East Policy under which India could be a reliable partner in the development of the Russian Far-East.

He supported Modi’s concept of ‘Sangam’ as a development tool for the region.

The Russian side warmly welcomed Modi’s successful visit to Vladivostok to attend the 5th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in 2019 and his virtual participation in the 6th EEF this year.

The two sides noted the greater intensity of inter-regional dialogue on economic cooperation between the states of India and the regions of Russia, including the virtual meeting between Gujarat chief minister and governor of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in September.

They welcomed the interest of Indian companies in cooperating in the Russian Far-East.

Energy, transport and logistics, maritime connectivity, diamond processing, forestry, pharmaceutical and healthcare, tourism and humanitarian fields have been identified as areas of further cooperation in the Russian Far-East, the statement said.

The Indian side reiterated its commitment to enhanced trade and investment in the Russian Far-East.

They agreed to continue discussion on the operationalisation of the USD 1 billion Line of Credit announced by Modi in 2019 for projects for development of the Russian Far East, the statement said.

The role of connectivity through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the proposed Chennai-Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor figured in the talks.

The Russian side expressed support for India’s proposal to include Chabahar port within the framework of INSTC.

They stressed that connectivity initiatives should be based on the principles of transparency, broad participation, local priorities, financial sustainability and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, it said.

The Indian side said the feasibility study of the Chennai-Vladivostok corridor is in an advanced stage, and it indicates an array of opportunities for increased traffic upon the successful implementation of its recommendations, it said.

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