In a webinar held on Saturday, Indian Minister of State for Shipping and Chemicals & Fertilizers, Mansukh Mandaviya, and Russian Deputy Minister of Industry & Trade, Oleg Ryazantsev, discussed plans for strengthening of maritime partnership through avenues of bilateral collaboration in ship design and building, repair, logistics, Maintenance Repair and Operations (MRO), inland waterways, and ports sectors.
The idea is to put in joined efforts to build civilian naval ships including repair facilities and logistics. Additionally, India and Russia have also agreed on opening up the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) which will connect Mumbai with St Petersburg via the Indian Ocean and then via Iran and Azerbaijan.
The revival of the Chennai-Vladivostok shipping links is also being looked at. The link that existed during the Soviet era connected Chennai and Vladivostok in 24 days compared to over 40 days currently taken to transport goods from India to Far East Russia via Europe.
The joint efforts are said to enable faster shipment of cargo. While this is a boost to India’s Act Far East policy, Russia is also eyeing to expand its footprints in the region which is currently limited.
India is also looking forward to exploring the connectivity corridor between resource-rich Arctic Region and INSTC. The Arctic is rich in petroleum and mineral resources and is currently the source of about one-tenth of the world’s oil and a quarter of its natural gas.
D B Venkatesh Varma, Indian Ambassador to Russia who also addressed the webinar emphasised on the immense opportunities for bilateral cooperation. The chairpersons of Chennai Port Trust and IWAI, Secretary Shipping, Trade Commissioner of Russia to India also attended the webinar.