New Delhi: Hailing Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “great friend of India” under whose guidance the bilateral “strategic partnership continues to grow from strength to strength”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the “friendship between India and Russia has stood the test of time”, as he announced a joint partnership to build commercial ships.
Delivering his virtual address at the Eastern Economic Forum, Mr Modi said the two countries will also be “partners in opening of the northern sea route for international trade and commerce” whole envisaging an “energy and trade bridge”. The PM said he was “extending an invitation for the governors of 11 regions of the Russian Far East to visit India at the earliest”.
Addressing President Putin, Mr Modi said: “I remember our detailed conversation during the boat ride from Vladivostok to Zvezda during my visit in 2019. You had shown me the modern shipbuilding facility at Zvezda and had expressed the hope that India would participate in this great enterprise. Today I am delighted one of India’s biggest shipyards, Mazagon Docks Ltd, will partner with Zvezda for the construction of some of the most important commercial ships in the world… India and Russia will also be partners in the opening of the northern sea route for international trade and commerce.”
The PM added: “The friendship between India and Russia has stood the test of time. Most recently it was seen in our robust cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic, including in the area of vaccines… Energy is another major pillar of our strategic partnership. The India-Russia energy partnership can help bring stability to the global energy market. My petroleum and natural gas minister, Mr Hardeep Puri, is in Vladivostok to represent India at this forum. Indian workers are participating in major gas projects in the Amur region, from Yamal to Vladivostok and onward to Chennai. We envisage an energy and trade bridge. I am happy that the Chennai-Vladivostok Maritime Corridor is making headway. This connectivity project along with the International North-South Corridor will bring India and Russia physically closer to each other… I am confident that the $1 billion soft credit line announced in 2019 will create many business opportunities for both countries.”