Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 12 July 2020 5.28 AM IST

PM Modi announces $1 bn line of credit for development of Russia's Far East


VLADIVOSTOK: India on Thursday announced an "unprecedented" $1 billion line of credit for the development of Russia's Far East with Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowing that New Delhi will walk shoulder-to-shoulder with Moscow in its quest for the development of the resource-rich region.

Addressing the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) here, prime minister Modi said it was a "unique case" of India providing such special credit line to another country.

"For the development of the Far East, India will give a line of credit worth $1 billion. My government has actively engaged East Asia as part of its 'Act East' policy," Modi said at a packed house here.

"I am confident that this step will give new impetus to the development of economic diplomacy and the growth of ties between the regions of our friendly states. We will remain active partners in our priority cooperation," he said.

Terming it an "unprecedented case", the prime minister said this is "our launching pad" in the Far East where India is "very active".

Modi aid the friendship between India and Russia was not restricted to governmental interactions in capital cities, but was about people and close business relations.

"India's connection to Russia's Far East go back a long way. India was the first country to open a Consulate in Vladivostok," he said.

The prime minister, in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, also unveiled the "Act Far East" policy to boost India's engagement with Russia's Far East region.

"Let us deepen the bond between India and Russia even further... India is proud of the achievements of the Indian diaspora. I am sure here in the Russian Far East too the Indian diaspora will make an active contribution towards the region's progress," Modi said.

"India is proud to be an active participant in the Eastern Economic Forum. High-level delegations from India have come to this prestigious Forum. We look forward to stronger India-Russia cooperation in areas like healthcare, education, skill development and more sectors," he said.

Russia's Far East deepens the bond between Russia and Asia, Modi said.

"This is a region known for courageous and talented people. India looks forward to boosting cooperation with Russia's Far East," he said.

India concluded around 50 agreements worth $5 billion at the EEF-2019, according to the prime minister.

"We concluded 50 agreements worth $5 billion at this forum," Modi was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency TASS.

Indian firms have invested over $7 billion in taking stake in Russian oil and gas fields. India ventured into Russia when its flagship overseas firm ONGC Videsh in 2001 acquired a 20 per cent stake in Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field in Far East Russia.

OVL later bought Imperial Energy, which has fields in Siberia, as also stakes in Vankor oilfield in eastern Siberia.

Indian Oil Corporation and its partners have picked up 29.9 per cent stake in a separate Taas-Yuryakh oilfield in East Siberia.

Russian oil firm Rosneft in 2017 bought Essar Oil, which operates in Vadinar oil refinery in Gujarat and some 5,500 petrol pumps, for $12.9 billion.

Modi appreciated the vision of Putin for the welfare for Russia's Far East, saying the President has opened up investment opportunities for India in the region.

"EEF is an example of President Putin's stupendous efforts to further develop the Far Eastern Region and India will support him in this endeavour," he said.

"By declaring the development of the Russian Far East a 'national priority for the 21st century', President Putin has taken a holistic approach towards improving everything ranging from economy, education, health to sports, culture or communication," he said.

Prime Minister Modi also emphasised India's commitment to become a five trillion dollar economy by 2024.

Modi, who arrived in Russia on a two-day visit on Wednesday, is the first Indian prime minister to visit to the Russian Far East Region.

He arrived here to participate in the 20th India-Russia annual summit with President Putin and the fifth meeting of the EEF.

The forum focuses on the development of business and investment opportunities in the Russian Far East Region, and presents enormous potential for developing close and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Russia in the region.

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