Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced a landmark decision of giving a line of credit worth $1 Billion for the development of the Far East region in Russia. This is the first time that India is giving a line of credit for a particular region of another country.
Addressing the Plenary Session of the Fifth Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, PM Modi asserted, "My govt has actively engaged East Asia as part of its 'Act East' policy. This will also give a new dimension to our economic diplomacy."
PM Modi recalled the close ties between India and Russia's the Far East, adding that the connection has been there since ages. India is a proud and active participant in the various activities of the Eastern Economic Forum. The participation has come from top levels of government and industry, he added.
"I believe that our brainstorming today at this forum will not only strengthen the efforts for human welfare in the Far East but also the entire mankind," he said.
Russian Far East is the easternmost territory of Russia between Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia and Pacific ocean and shares a land border with Mongolia, China and Korea and maritime border with the US and Japan.
Explaining India's connect with that part of Russia, he said, "India's connection with the Far East is old. India was the first country to open its consulate in Vladivostok. Even during Soviet time, while other foreigners were prohibited to visit the part of Russia, Indians easily came."
Highlighting India's investment in the oil, gas sector and gems sector, PM Modi said, "this area is an opportunity for India" and President Putin's focus on the region has turned the area from "Frozen land to flower land".
He said India wants to work with Russia for the development of Russian Far East and "President Putin has a vision for this region" adding, like Russia, "India has a policy of sabka sath sabka vikas and the aim is to make India 5 trillion dollar economy."
Talking about Vladivostok-Chennai maritime connect, he said it will help Indian products reach northeast Asia. The PM also mentioned about Indo-Pacific concept and called for "free and inclusive Indo Pacific". Vladivostok, New Delhi believes can be a springboard for US-India led Indo Pacific concept that connects the Indian and Pacific ocean but is seen suspiciously by China as an attempt to contain it.
PM Modi and President held bilateral talks on Wednesday as part of 20th India Russia summit that alternates between both countries. Both continued the conversation until 1 am.