President Vladimir Putin’s most trusted lieutenant is headed to India as part of Moscow’s move to push business ties with Asian nations and counter moves by the US and Europe to isolate Russia for signing a treaty to absorb Crimea from Ukraine.Igor Sechin sent word Wednesday that he would be arriving in New Delhi on March 24 for talks with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily.
The request from Sechin, who heads Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft, did not outline the issues he planned to discuss, but officials said energy contracts could be dangled to wean New Delhi away from the US — just as he did in Tokyo Wednesday, seeking a broader connect with Japan.
Sechin offered closer energy ties worth billions of dollars to Tokyo, indicating Russia’s strategy to engage with the East for new business, energy deals, military contracts and political alliances to counter the isolation being forced by the US and Europe.
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His itinerary includes a meeting with the chairman of state-run ONGC Videsh Ltd, with a 20-member delegation in tow.
Last month, Rosneft offered OVL a stake in nine offshore oil and gas blocks in the Barents Sea and one in the Black Sea. OVL, the overseas arm of state-run ONGC, is studying data provided by Rosneft before deciding on its participation in the blocks.
In December, Moily said Rosneft had offered OVL a stake in the Magadan 2 and Magadan 3 exploration blocks in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk.