Russia’s invitation to India to enhance its economic presence in Far Eastern Russia is a region where China had already made significant inroads appear to be a Kremlin’s attempt to counterbalance China in the resource rich territory which is twice the size of India.
Yury Trutnev, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Vladimir Putin’s point person for Far-East Russia is going to visit New Delhi next week to attract Indian investments, persons who are familiar with the development.
The visit is a key exercise to harness the untapped potential in Indo-Russian economic partnership. Improving economic relations is a priority for both the countries.
The far Eastern District is the largest, but the least populated of the 8 districts in Russia, with a population closely to 6.3 million. The region contains highly rich resources such unused land, timber, tin, gold, diamonds, and petroleum.
Russia announced many initiatives to attract investments in the region, including an agricultural SEZ and the Vladivostok Free Port Project.
Companies seeking business opportunities in industries such as timber, coal and diamond mining, and production of metals such as gold, platinum, tin, and tungsten could invest in the region.
Russia is sensitive to the growing Chinese presence, particularly into new settlers from the country in the region.
“This pattern could change the demographics of Far-East Russia and growing presence of other countries, including India will help to bring balance,” pointed out an expert.
In 1992 India was the first country ever to establish a resident consulate in Vladivostok. Its existing engagement with the region is limited to isolated pockets, as the Irkut Corporation in Irkutsk where the aircrafts Mig and Sukhoi are built.
According to people familiar with the subject, the $6 billion worth of investments by ONGC Videsh Limited in the Sakhalin 1 hydrocarbon project is other Indian business interests.
According to Indian officials sectors such as agriculture, mining, port development and infrastructure, diamond processing and agro-processing are the opportunities for collaboration with Indian companies
States such as Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have shown interest in some of the projects in these sectors in the Far East region.