India and Russia are looking beyond energy and military hardware to expand their time-tested strategic ties with cross-investments into diamond cutting and polishing business, mining, dairy farming, pulp industry as well as tourism and hospitality business, and Russian Far East will provide the springboard for that leap, according to media reports.
Statistics show India’s trade volume with the region expanding by over 3% in 2018 to $790 mln, even as India’s total trade with Russia crossed $10 bln. The two countries want to treble the trade volume by 2025.
Investments by Indian state-run companies in the Russian resource-rich region’s oil and gas fields have been heard of, but unknown to many, Indian trade and investment in the region has been rising slowly in diamond cutting and polishing, coal mine development as well as pulp industries. Strategically too, deeper involvement of Indian business in the Russian Far East works well for both. For New Delhi, the investments are akin to marking territory in a vital region.
The initiations for the opportunities were set in motion during India’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal’s visit to Vladivostok earlier this month. Accompanied by four chief ministers, Goyal discussed with Yuri Trutnev, Russia’s deputy PM and presidential envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, a slew of partnership proposals between India’s states and the Far East provinces.
Memorandums of Understanding ( MoUs) are being proposed in various fields with State Governments … with Gujarat (diamond cutting and polishing centre), Haryana (timber and pulp), Maharashtra (hotels and resorts, cruise tourism in Lake Baikal) and mining), Goa (fisheries and mining) and Uttar Pradesh (crop production, dairy and oilseeds processing).