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Modi vows to help Russia in developing its Far East, offers USD 1 billion line of credit

By Vishal S

Vladivostok, Sep 05: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday India will walk shoulder-to-shoulder with Russia in its development of the Far East and announced a USD 1 billion line of credit for the development of the resource-rich region. PM Modi is attending 5th Eastern Economic Forum as the chief guest at the invitation of Russian President Vladamir Putin.

Addressing the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum here, Prime Minister Modi said the friendship between India and Russia was not restricted to governmental interactions in capital cities, but was about people and close business relations.

"The relation of India and Far East is not new but ages old. India is the 1st country which opened its consulate in Vladivostok. Even during Soviet Russia when there were restrictions on other foreigners, Vladivostok was open for Indians," PM said.

PM Modi speaking at the Plenary Session of 5th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia

"In India also we are building a New India on the 'mantra' of 'sabka saath sabka vikas'. We are aiming to be US$ 5 trillion economy by 2024," he added.

PM Modi appreciated the vision of President Putin for the welfare for Russia's Far East.

"India is proud of the achievements of the Indian diaspora. I am sure here in the Russian Far East to the Indian diaspora will make an active contribution towards the region's progress," PM said.

"For the development of Far East, India will give line of credit worth US$ 1 Billion. My govt has actively engaged in East Asia as part of its 'Act East' policy. This will also give a new dimension to our economic diplomacy," Modi added.

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 a proud and active participant in the various activities of the Eastern Economic Forum. Participation has come from top levels of government and industry," he said.

Indian firms have invested over USD 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. IOC 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 USD 12.9 billion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Russia on Wednesday on a two-day visit during which he will hold summit talks with President Putin and attend the Eastern Economic Forum. His visit to the Russian Far East Region is the first by an Indian prime minister.

Earlier, speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum, President Putin said that Russia's relationships with India, China, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Japan and other countries of Asia Pacific region are based on principles of respect and honest dialogue.

"I am convinced they have great prospects which tally with the growing role that the Asia Pacific region is to play in the coming decades," Putin said.

    India raises Zakir Naik extradition matter with Malaysian President

    He will also hold the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit with Putin. Before departing for Russia, Modi said he looked forward to discussing regional and international issues of mutual interest with President Putin.

    [Modi in Russia: PM meets his Malaysian counterpart, raises issue of Zakir Naik's extradition]

    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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