PM Modi extends $1 billion for Russia’s Far East
India on Thursday announced a $1 billion line of credit for Russia’s Far East, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying New Delhi will march beside Moscow to implement President Vladimir Putin’s vision for developing the resource-rich region.
Modi made the announcement while speaking as chief guest at the Eastern Economic Forum in the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok, a day after he held an annual summit with the Russian president and the two sides signed a raft of deals in areas ranging from energy to defence.
“Friends, to participate in the development of the Far East, India will give a line of credit of $1 billion. This is the first time India is giving a line of credit to a specific region in a country,” he said.
Noting that India’s Act East policy had helped the country engage East Asia, Modi said: “Today’s announcement will be the take-off point for Act Far East and I firmly believe this step will add a new chapter in our economic diplomacy.”
India wants to march shoulder-to-shoulder in Russia’s “visionary journey” to develop the Far East, which offers “historic opportunities” for his government’s plans to make the country a $5-trillion economy by 2024, he told the gathering that included Putin, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed and Mongolian President Khaltmaagin Battulga.
As part of preparations for his visit, Modi said, several union ministers, chief ministers of four states and 150 Indian businessmen travelled to the Far East and met their counterparts to boost trade. This resulted in the signing of some 50 business agreements worth $5 billion, and Indian firms are interested in areas such as energy, healthcare, skill development and mining, he said.
Vladivostok could serve as a springboard to markets in Northeast Asia and the Far East could unite the Eurasian Union and an “open, free and inclusive Indo-Pacific”, Modi said. India is working for a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity and without any interference in the internal matters of countries, he added.
Answering a question following about sanctions imposed on oil trade, Modi said there was a debate on how such measures affect the global economy.
“I understand there is a big debate on this across the world — that how much the country on which sanctions are imposed is affected. That is one thing, but because of the impact on other countries and, the world economy, there is deep concern and a debate on that across the world,” he said. Modi, who arrived in Russia on Wednesday for a two-day visit, is the first Indian PM to visit the Far East region.