Updated: September 6, 2019 5:53:01 pm
Launching India’s “Act Far East” policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced USD 1-billion line of credit for the development of Russia’s the Far East — this is the first-ever region-specific line of credit in a foreign country extended by India.
Modi, who was speaking at the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok on Thursday, said that while India has an Act East policy to engage with South-east Asia, this will be the “take-off point” for the Act Far East policy.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe among others listening in, the Prime Minister said, “For the development of the Far East, India will give a line of credit worth $1-billion. My government has actively engaged in East Asia as part of its ‘Act East’ policy… I am confident that this step will give new impetus to the development of economic diplomacy and the growth of ties between the regions of our friendly states. We will remain active partners in our priority cooperation.”
A new stride
India has for long engaged with the western and central parts of Russia, but not with the Far East. By going to Vladivostok, Delhi has now announced its intent to engage with the far-eastern parts of Russia. Key will be sustained engagement between government and business with these parts in the future.
Later, he tweeted, “In addition to ‘Act East’, India embarks on ‘Act Far East’ and a humble beginning has been made today.” He held bilateral talks with Putin on Wednesday and addressed the EEF on Thursday.
Russia’s Far East is sparsely populated but is rich in resource and Delhi’s new policy aims to tap the region for the resources and also find opportunities for skilled workers to find employment in this region. It also ties in well with the Indo-Pacific concept, and opens up possibilities for using the Arctic route to connect with northern Europe.
Modi said that immediately after receiving Putin’s invitation to attend the Eastern Economic Forum, the Indian side began to prepare “very seriously”. “For this, Commerce Minister of India, Chief Minister of 4 states and more than 150 businessmen came to Vladivostok. Meeting with the special envoy to Far East and all 11 Governors of Far East have given very good results. Relations between states and regions found a framework. And coal, diamond, mining, rare earth, agriculture, timber, pulp & paper and tourism have revealed many new possibilities. And now a maritime route between Chennai and Vladivostok has also been proposed to increase connectivity between the regions,” he said.
“India’s connection to Russia’s Far East go back a long way. India was the first country to open a consulate in Vladivostok,” he said.
“Let us deepen the bond between India and Russia even further…,” Modi said.
“India is proud to be an active participant in the Eastern Economic Forum… We look forward to stronger India-Russia cooperation in areas like healthcare, education, skill development and more sectors,” he said.
Russia’s Far East deepens the bond between Russia and Asia, Modi said.“We concluded 50 agreements worth $5 billion at this forum,” Modi said. Modi appreciated the vision of Putin for the welfare for Russia’s Far East.
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