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Two weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian President Narendra Modi at a three-day forum in Vladivostok. Other regional leaders also attended.
Russia and India are growing closer, despite Washington's influence in New Delhi. India is a major customer for Russian armorments, and is looking to increase sea trade with the Russian far east.
First, a major event in the Far East. The fifth Eastern Economic Forum has opened. Several thousand participants from 50 countries have gathered there. The forum has strategic sessions, economic issue discussions, and serves as a platform for the signing of contracts worth over 40 billion rubles ($604 million). Vladimir Putin is taking part in the event. Today, he's meeting Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.
My colleague Alexey Petrov is following the negotiations.
- Greetings, Alexey. What statements have been made?
- Greetings Denis. There have been many statements. The fifth Eastern Economic Forum is gaining momentum. More than 5000 participants, businessmen from various countries of the Asian-Pacific region and outside of it.
Currently, all sideline discussions address the prospects of the Russian-Indian cooperation. Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi began talking back at the pier. Together, they boarded the Uragan speed boat. It was obvious that their conversation was friendly but comprehensive. The Uragan boat took the leaders to the Zvezda shipyard. Putin and Modi spent the voyage in the same cabin. They were accompanied only by an interpreter. That was essentially the first stage of the vital strategic negotiations.
In half an hour, Putin and Modi were at Zvezda. It's a special shipyard. It was founded back in 1954. It used to build submarines. Now, it builds a series of various vessels, civilian vessels of different purposes. Together, Putin and Modi learned about the state of the production modernization process and checked out prospective ship models. It's also worth mentioning the dry dock that will enable the construction of ships of any size, including the ones larger than aircraft carriers. Experts told Putin and Modi that Zvezda is being intensively upgraded. The facility is Russia's largest shipyard. Vladimir Putin drew Narendra Modi's attention to the new icebreaker model presentation. Let's check out what Putin and the Indian prime minister had to say.
Vladimir Putin: “It's the largest nuclear icebreaker in the world. It can operate basically anywhere in the world. We've decided to design this icebreaker to ensure year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route.”
Putin and Modi were accompanied by Igor Sechin. He was explaining some details. The thing is, Rosneft is the project supervisor. Modi was carefully listening and asking questions. He was visibly interested in the subject. I'd like to stress it one more time, Zvezda can now build vessels of the sizes that were previously only ordered from abroad. India is also very interested in the subject. The facility has great plans; it aims to establish close cooperation with local and foreign partners. Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov was willing to elaborate on that. Here's what he said.
Denis Manturov, minister of industry and trade: "We're interested in establishing cooperation relations. We want to partially build some parts in Russia and to later transport our products by sea in order to finalize, assemble, and upgrade the ship equipment and ultimately complete the project, for instance, in India, to use our potential, technologies, and project to the fullest."
After the forum session, Putin and Modi boarded the Uragan boat again and sailed to Russkiy Island for the Russian-Indian negotiations. Their main focus was economic and industrial cooperation of the two countries.
Vladimir Putin: “They have coordinated a large package of bilateral documents, covering trade and investment, industry, military-technical cooperation, education and culture. As planned, today we will approve a comprehensive joint statement titled Through Trust and Partnership to New Heights in Cooperation, which will set the mood for deepening bilateral ties, including closer foreign policy coordination. We are working energetically in this field, supporting each other, and we hold identical or similar views on many key issues on the international agenda.”
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India: "Mr. President, my dear friend, it's a great pleasure to be in the wonderful city of Vladivostok today. Russia is a very close friend and trusted partner of India. Our relations have been strengthened, and they have facilitated progress, peace, and stability in our states and the entire world. We're expanding our cooperation in the fields of defense, nuclear power industry, and space. We're ready to elevate these relations to a new level."
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