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India-Russia may work together on resource rich Northern Sea Route


New Delhi, Oct 10: India and Russia signing a deal on S-400 Triumf air defence system has been a significant move in the direction of beefing up security measures by India looking at the threat perception that the country faces but Russian President's offer of welcoming India in the resource rich Northern Sea Route in the Arctic Ocean could prove to be a game changer of the short for Russia and a big leap in terms of growth for India.

File photo of PM Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin

The joint statement issued by both the country says, both the sides expressed their interest in the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the Arctic inter alia in the sphere of joint scientific research. They noted with satisfaction the longstanding cooperation of Indian and Russian scientists in the Antarctic.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "We welcome our Indian partners to join the work in the Arctic. This is a very promising, long-term and very serious project that appears decades ahead, one with good investment and good return. Since climate continues to change... the Northern Sea Route offers growing opportunities."

Indrani Talukdar, an expert on strategic issues told Oneindia, "The offer made by Russian President is not only significant in terms of energy security and enhancing trade volume for a country like India that is taking big strides in the development path but it is also important to note that it shows Russian confidence in its long standing strategic partner India. It is notable that all this is happening despite the fact that China and many other players are vying their role in the region."

"There is a need to understand that the Arctic policy of Russia enhances the global role of India. It is just not only energy security but new scientific research as well. Russia is offering India to use Northern Sea Route for additional supplies of natural gas and joint development of gas fields to meet India's growing energy requirements as Russia holds significant part of resource-rich Arctic region," said Talukdar.

[Why China is not worried with India-Russia S-400 deal]

This region remains completely unexploited and at the moment it generates just one tenth of the world's oil and one fourth of its natural gas while the Arctic region under Russian sphere is source for about 80 per cent of oil and natural gas. The region also holds abundant deposits of nickel, copper, coal, gold, uranium, tungsten, and diamonds. Russia is a reliable energy supplier for India and joint projects in the field of supplies of LNG are of strategic importance.

Russia is already supplying LNG to India. India is making its footprints in Russian oil field through acquisition and the Northern Sea Route is the main sea route in the Russian Arctic. Indrani Talukdar further said, "The Northern Sea Rout, which is more that 14000-kilometre long, is not importance in terms of providing energy security, business but also strategy and enhancing militarily strength. So Russia is offering India to join the country there."

Both the countries also expressed support to companies for development of cooperation and exploring opportunities for joint development of oil NSE 2.21 per cent fields in Russian territory, including on the Arctic shelf, and projects on the shelf of the Pechora and Okhotsk Seas. Former foreign secretary Shashank too was of the view that these are the area where both the countries might get mutually benefited.

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