The diamond industry in Surat has high hopes from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India, as around a dozen diamond firms are set to sign pact with Russia's state-owned diamond firm ALROSA for direct supply of rough diamonds to Surat-based companies.
World’s 90% rough diamonds are cut and polished in Surat.
Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the apex body of gems and jewellery trade in India, in association with the World Diamond Mark Foundation (WDMF) is organising the first ever-global congregation of Diamond leaders in India at the “World Diamond Conference” in New Delhi on December 11-12.
“Indian companies will sign pact with Russian firm during the conference where the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President Putin are expected to be present,” Vipul Shah, president of GJEPC, said.
According to him, India is the major diamond polishing hub and Russia which is poised to spend significantly in diamond exploration in the future, natural partners and expected to gain enormously with the direct partnership proposed by the industry.
“The visit of President of Russia to India during the World Diamond Conference is of great significance and we are hopeful that the government of India accepts our proposals for direct sourcing and a Special Notified Zone in India and announce the revised structure at this forum,” he said, talking about the industry’s interests.
At present, Indo-Russia bilateral trade in diamond is pegged at $800 million which will go up by $1,000 million and above after Russia starts direct supply of rough diamonds to India.
“Russian diamonds are coming to India via Israel, Europe or Dubai but we want the government of Russia and India to facilitate direct supply between Alrosa and Indian firms,” a diamond merchant said.
With an increasing share of global exploration spending being invested in Russia; which stands at 54% (2013) from 27% (2011) has triggered a renewed focus on trade relations between India and Russia. The MoU on ‘Direct Sourcing of Rough’ between ALROSA and India is expected to give an edge to Russia over other countries such as Dubai and Antwerp.
“If Alrosa directly supplies rough diamonds to Surat firms, it will be hugely beneficial to local industry here,” a leading diamond merchant said.