The time-tested special and privileged strategic ties between India and Russia are poised for an injection of new energy as the two countries prepare to seal a five-year roadmap for enhancing hydrocarbon cooperation during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Russian port city of Vladivostok.
Ahead of his annual summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok, PM Modi said that his visit reflects the desire of the two countries to diversity and further strengthen bilateral relations. Russia has invited PM Modi as a Guest of Honour at the Eastern Economic Forum, which will also be attended by several world leaders.
In his statement on September 3, PM Modi said: “Both countries cooperate extensively in the strategic fields of defence, civil nuclear energy and peaceful uses of space. We have robust and growing trade and investment relations.”
Underlining special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia, PM Modi placed it in the larger context of closer global cooperation in promoting a multipolar world.
Diversifying and broad-basing India-Russia relations, which have remained centred around defence and nuclear energy, will be the overarching focus of PM Modi’s visit to Russia. This will be reflected in the unveiling of a five-year roadmap for hydrocarbon cooperation and Indian investments in Russian oil fields. This roadmap will flesh out possibilities of “working together in oil and gas, both in terms of exploration and exploitation and in terms of purchase during 2019-2024 as we seek to diversify out oil and gas supplies beyond complete dependence on the Gulf,” said Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale ahead of the visit.
India’s top diplomat also stressed that Modi’s visit to Vladivostok for the Eastern Economic Forum meeting as one of the chief guests was a signal of the importance India attaches to the resource-rich Russian Far East. He indicated that India was also looking at the possibility of manpower export. “We are exploring the possibility of sending people with some skills in areas wherever there is manpower shortage. That is not limited to just Far East of Russia,” he said. The two sides will be focusing on implementing infrastructure projects like Vladivostok-Chennai sea route transport corridor, Northern Sea Route and other initiatives which spur economic integration between India and Russia’s Far East.
Besides hydrocarbons, India and Russia are expected to sign a clutch of pacts in diverse areas, including nuclear energy, space, connectivity and infrastructure.
The 2019 annual summit will reaffirm the importance of India-Russia partnership in the foreign policy calculus of both countries.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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