Indian PM Modi advocates strengthening energy ties with Russia

World Materials 8 September 2022 23:51 (UTC +04:00)
Indian PM Modi advocates strengthening energy ties with Russia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday articulated India’s eagerness to strengthen its partnership with Russia on Arctic issues and underscored the immense potential for energy cooperation in the Russian Far East, Trend reports citing The Telegraph Online.

The comments, which included praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin, came at a time the US and the European Union are urging New Delhi to cut back on its engagement with Moscow.

While addressing the Eastern Economic Forum being hosted in Vladivostok by Putin, Modi made it amply clear to the western world that India intended to continue with its engagement with Russia and investments in the Russian Far East, the Ukraine situation and the concerns of the US and the European Union notwithstanding.

This is the clearest articulation of India’s intent at the leadership level since the Ukraine crisis began, and goes beyond taking advantage of the discounted crude that Russia offered New Delhi to work around Europe’s decision to cut back on Russian oil and gas imports.

Addressing the forum virtually, Modi said the Act Far-East policy he announced when he attended the meeting in person in 2019 had become a key pillar of the “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership” between India and Russia.

“Whether we talk about the International North-South Corridor, the Chennai-Vladivostok Maritime Corridor or the Northern Sea Route, connectivity will play an important role in the development of our relations in the future. India is keen to strengthen its partnership with Russia on Arctic issues. There is also immense potential for cooperation in the field of energy. Along with energy, India has also made significant investments in the Russian Far East in the areas of pharma and diamonds,” Modi said.

He sought Russia’s participation in the Indian steel industry through the supply of coking coal, stating that it can become an important partner in this sector. “We can also have good cooperation in the mobility of talent. Indian talent has contributed to the development of many developed regions of the world. I believe that the talent and professionalism of Indians can bring about rapid development in the Russian Far East.”

Modi did bring up the Ukraine situation but without any finger-pointing and focusing more on the disruption it has caused to global supply chains close on the heels of the pandemic.

“Shortages of food grains, fertilisers and fuels are a major concern for developing countries,” he said, iterating India’s long-stated position that diplomacy and dialogue are the only way out of the crisis that has set energy prices on an upward trajectory and triggered inflation across Russian-gas-dependent Europe, raising the spectre of recession on the continent.

Modi was also appreciative of the leadership provided by Putin — reviled by the West and many close partner countries of India — for developing the Russian Far East. “The forum, established in 2015, has today become a major global forum for international cooperation in the development of the Russian Far East. For this, I appreciate President Putin’s vision, and also congratulate him,” the Prime Minister said.

Ever since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began on February 24 this year, India has stuck to the middle path, refusing to place itself in anyone’s corner. While New Delhi has refused to join the West and the predominantly democratic world in condemning Russia at international forums, it has been providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

Further, India increased manifold its purchases of both Urals and ESPO - two Russian crude blends - in the first three months of this fiscal.