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Charting new trade horizons: India and Russia forge path for maritime route exploration

India and Russia to explore new maritime routes for trade expansion

In discussions aimed at expanding their cooperation in maritime affairs, India and Russia explored the idea of creating new shipping routes, specifically the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and the Eastern Maritime Corridor (EMC) connecting Vladivostok and Chennai. They also agreed that Indian seafarers would receive training in Polar and Arctic waters at Russia’s Maritime Training Institute in Vladivostok, which is equipped with simulators.

The Indian delegation, led by Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, engaged in talks with the Russian delegation led by A.O. Chekunkov, the Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic. These discussions took place during the Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok, Russia, where they also visited the historic Vladivostok port.

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Mr. Sonowal expressed India’s interest in collaborating with Russia on the development of the NSR, recognizing its potential to enhance connectivity and trade. He emphasized the commitment to maintaining strong ties and strategic cooperation across various sectors.

During the visit, the Indian team toured the ports of Vladivostok, Vostochny, Nakhodka, and Kozmino in May 2023, gaining valuable insights. Collaborations formed during these visits contributed to a better understanding of the requirements for fully operationalizing the EMC.

Mr. Sonowal mentioned plans for a workshop in Chennai to discuss the operationalization of the EMC, involving relevant stakeholders in the transport of commodities such as coking coal, oil, and liquefied natural gas along this corridor. He also extended an invitation to Russia to participate in the Global Maritime India Summit 2023.

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Mr. Chekunkov highlighted that cooperation with India is a top priority for Russia, particularly in the Far East, across various areas of mutual interest. The potential cargo base for the new shipping routes would include coking coal, oil, liquefied natural gas, and fertilizers, which are readily available in the Far East. He suggested that the project should expand its geographical scope to include regions beyond Primorye, primarily the Khabarovsk Territory, considering the specialization of the Far Eastern ports.

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