Surat mayor Niranjan Jajmera and the South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) president, Mahendra Katargamwala, have formally invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the diamond city during his India tour in December.
Formal invites on behalf of the mayor and the SGCCI have been sent through the office of the Russian Ambassador in India, official sources said. “It would be a great honour for Surat, if Vladimir Putin comes to our city which is globally known as the diamond city. We are also ready to take him on a tour to the diamond factories and other places.”
Experts from the diamond industry point out that Russia is one of the major sources of rough diamonds to the country. During the last financial year 2013-2014 the rough diamonds valued at $800 million were imported to India for cutting and polishing work.
According to official sources, Putin is expected to visit India to participate in the World Diamond Conference – supported by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry and organized by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) along with World Diamond Mark Foundation – in Delhi on December 11-12.
SGCCI president Mahendra Katargamwala said, “We have send letters to Alexander Kadakin, Russian Ambassador to India in New Delhi, requesting him to put our wish before the President Vladimir Putin. We are hopeful that something positive will happen and our wish would be fulfilled.”
Surat is a global hub of diamond cutting and polishing, as out of ten polished diamonds found in the world eight are cut and polished in the city. Moreover, many diamond merchants from the city have registered themselves in the World Diamond Conference to be held in New Delhi.
Surat Diamond Association president Dinesh Navadia said, “The Russian President’s visit to india will be a great boost to the diamond industry as the industry faces a shortage of supply of rough diamonds. If the shortage is filled, the production of cutting and polishing of diamonds will grow and not only the diamond polishers but factory owners will also get benefitted.”
Govind Dholakia, owner of one of the leading diamond exporters, Shri Ramkrishna Exports, said, “We have also registered with the World Diamond Conference to be held in Delhi. There are many diamond mines in the Russia where rough diamonds are generated. We will also find out business opportunities in the conference. We are hopeful that that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India will be more beneficial to the diamond industry.”