Delhi gives Russia Far East $1bn line of credit.
New Delhi: In a major step, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced a huge $1 billion line of credit for the development of the Russian Far East region, as he spelt out — at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok — the importance of “sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs” of countries and also an inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
Mr Modi’s comments, including one referring to his electoral slogan of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas”, sent a clear message to the world at the conference, particularly in the context of the recent developments after the bifurcation of J&K state. In a joint Indo-Russian Statement released just a few hours before the EEF began, both countries “agreed to prepare a framework for cooperation on reciprocal (military) logistics support” while “recognising the requirement of an institutional arrangement for the reciprocal provision of logistics support and services for the armed forces”. Significantly, India already has in place a pact for military logistics support with the United States. Both nations also strongly denounced terrorism and its use for “political ends”.
“India-Russia ties have successfully coped with the turbulent realities of the contemporary world. They have never been and will not be susceptible to outside influences. The development of the entire gamut of India-Russia
relations is a foreign policy priority for both countries. The leaders (PM Modi and President Putin) agreed to facilitate, in all possible ways, exploring the impressive potential of our strategic partnership to the full, demonstrating its special and privileged nature which has emerged as an anchor of stability in a complex international situation,” the two nations declared on Thursday.
Later in the day, while speaking as chief guest at the EEF in Russia’s Vladivostok, Mr Modi lavished praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin and hailed his vision for development. Mr Modi also referred to 50 business pacts in various spheres like health, skill development, energy and mining worth billions of dollars which had been inked. “For the development to the (Russian) Far East, India will give a line of credit of $1 billion. This is the first time that we are earmarking for a specific region of a country a line of credit,” Mr Modi said, mentioning India’s “Act East Policy” and adding that it would now be a “takeoff point” for an Äct Far East policy.
“When ships start operating between Chennai and Vladivostok, when there will be a springboard for India in the markets of Vladivostok and northeast Asia, then Indo-Russian cooperation will get even stronger and prosper,” Mr Modi said, highlighting the need for a “free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region” and a “rules-based order”. He also spoke about the importance of “sovereignty, territorial integrity, honour and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries”.
An Indo-Russian joint statement issued on Thursday after Mr Modi’s bilateral engagements on Wednesday stated: “The sides aspired to create favourable conditions for further development of bilateral cooperation between their armed forces and recognised the requirement of an institutional arrangement for reciprocal provision of logistics support and services for the armed forces. It was agreed to prepare a framework for cooperation on reciprocal logistics support.”
On other aspects of defence cooperation, the joint statement said: “India-Russia close cooperation in military and military-technical fields is a pillar of their bilateral special and privileged strategic partnership... The sides expressed their commitment to upgrading their defence cooperation, including by fostering joint development and production of military equipment, components and spare parts, improve the after-sales service system and continue holding regular joint exercises of the armed forces of the two countries. Both sides agreed to take forward ongoing engagement to encourage joint manufacturing in India of spare parts, components, aggregates and other products for maintenance of Russian origin arms and defence equipment under the Make-in-India programme through transfer of technology and setting up of joint ventures.”
On the menace of terrorism, the joint statement said: “The leaders (PM Modi and President Putin) strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and called on the international community to set up a united front to fight against this evil. ... They insisted on the inadmissibility of double standards in countering terrorism and extremism, as well as of the use of terrorist groups for political ends... India and Russia need to be united in their counter-terrorism efforts. Russia noted India’s proposal to organise a global anti-terrorism conference.”
On civil nuclear cooperation, it stated: “Civil nuclear cooperation between India and Russia is an important component of the strategic partnership. The sides noted the pace of progress achieved in the construction of the remaining four of the six nuclear power plants at Kudankulam. Both sides engaged in discussion on the second site and welcomed continuation of technical discussions on the VVER 1200 of the Russian design and joint manufacturing of equipment and fuel. The sides highlighted successful cooperation in the construction of the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh and expressed their readiness to expand similar cooperation in third countries.”