India and Russia have discussed developing further linkages with Far East Russia, particularly through sourcing of metallurgical or coking coal, development of infrastructure of the region’s ports and connectivity of these ports with Russian mining locations, and improvements in evacuation infrastructure.
These deliberations were held during the meeting between the Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Debendra Pradhan and Leonid Petukov, CEO, Far East Russia Investment and Export Agency in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Pradhan also reviewed the progress made in strengthening ties following the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Far East Russia in September. He further said that after his visit to Moscow and Vladivostok during the last three months, in which he had met Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Yuri Trutnev and subsequent meetings of representatives of Russian and Indian steel companies, the latter has started testing samples of coking coal from Far East Russia at their plants.
The minister stated that offtake of coal from Far East Russia can grow once it becomes attractive in terms of price, ease of availability, connectivity to the ports and sea transport. He hoped that the improvements by the Russian side in developing inland as well as port logistics and rail connectivity in the Far East would go a long way in developing economic linkages with India. He also suggested the Far East Russia Investment and Export Agency indicate specific concessions that can be made to Indian importers of coking coal and to offer port facilities at preferential terms for Indian companies.
Thanking the representatives from Far East Russia Investment and Export Agency for visiting India, Pradhan expressed confidence that the coming months would see a significant increase in import of coking coal for the Indian steel industry from the region. India currently imports more than 50 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) coking coal. Given the huge opportunity offered by Far East Russia to attract Indian investments, the Govt of India extended a $1 billion line of credit to Russia during Prime Minister’s Modi’s visit. This can be used for improving economic linkages with Far East Russia, including the development of evacuation infrastructure and logistics in the region.
The Russian delegation included Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev, Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in India, YaroslavTarasyuk and senior officials from the Far East Russia Investment and Export Agency. Minister of State for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste, Steel Secretary Binoy Kumar, representatives of steel, coal, and external affairs ministries were also present along with industry leadersfrom the Indian steel, coal and port sectors.