Russia and India discuss prospects of expanding Far Eastern and Arctic cooperation
Russian Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Alexei Chekunkov and Indian Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal discussed new areas of bilateral economic cooperation. The meeting was focused on the use of the Northern Sea Route to transport cargo.
The creation of an alternative shipping route from India to Europe was discussed including the eastern route, using the Northern Sea Route (NSR), and both Russian and Indian port capacities, instead of southern or western routes.
“It was noted separately that the cost of shipping a container from Vladivostok to India is one third lower than the cost of shipping a container from Moscow. Promising areas of cooperation include the creation of a Russian-Indian trans-Arctic container line, the construction of processing facilities near the NSR and expanding the fleet, which would include state support mechanisms operating in the Arctic,” the Ministry for the Development of the Far East and Arctic said in its statement.
The potential of the Northern Sea Route, as well as the dynamics of the development of this route, were presented by Rosatom special representative Vladimir Panov.
Social issues were also touched on at the meeting with Indian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Dammu Ravi. The Indian side was interested in a proposal to create specialized Russian-Indian education programs and a student campus in the Far East in the areas of medicine, IT, and engineering specialties.
“We saw that India had a sincere, genuine interest in Russia, which is based on a long history of friendship between our countries. We are interested in continuing our dialogue with the Indian side, the main goal of which is to launch specific projects. We will hold a new round of talks in April in Moscow at the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic,” Alexey Chekunkov said.
Proposals on the development of direct flights between the two countries to encourage mutual tourist volumes, which is not an indicator of this real potential today, will be drafted following the bilateral meeting. India showed much interest in construction projects for a satellite city near Vladivostok, as well as ports, roads, and energy infrastructure.