Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, recently visited the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in Russia. The visit began with a tour of the diamond cutting and polishing factory set up by the KGK Group of India in Vladivostok. It has a manufacturing capacity of 150,000 carats of diamond per year and employees 400 people. The facility was inaugurated by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, last year. The Commerce Minister had discussions with KGK Group, MD, Vithal Ramani, to explore the potential and sourcing and value addition opportunities in the diamond trade for India.
The Minister also held bilateral meeting with Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia. Discussions took place on areas of cooperation between India and Russia to strengthen bilateral ties for economic growth. The Minister also interacted with the Governors, Vice-Governorsss and Representatives of the Russian Far East Regions of Primorye, Yakutia, Sakhalin, Amur, Magadan, Kamchatka, and Khabarovsk. Discussions were held on possibilities of mutual cooperation in sectors like mining, agriculture and tourism. Commerce Minister apprised them of the various business and investment opportunities in India and the Government of India’s initiatives to facilitate the same through Invest India.
He invited the Governors of the Far East Regions to lead business delegations to India and explore partnerships with Indian businesses. Minister, Suresh Prabhu, also held discussions on enhancing bilateral trade and investment between India and Russia with Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and Aysen Nikolayev, Governor of the Sakha Republic. The Commerce Minister also had an interaction with Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation. Issues of mutual cooperation in areas of conservation of environment like saving the tiger and elephant population, water cooperation and environmental sustainability were discussed. The Russian Far East is the world’s biggest tiger habitat, accounting of about 11% if the planets tiger population.
Suresh Prabhu met with Maxim Oreshkin, Minister for Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The two sides held talks about further strengthening economic ties between India and Russia and the way forward in developing synergies for mutual growth. The Commerce Minister addressed top CEOs at a reception of the All-Russia Business Association “Delovaya Rossiya” (Business Russia), which is a Union of next-generation Russian entrepreneurs operating mainly in the non-commodity and processing sectors. Suresh Prabhu spoke about the immense growth potential in the business ties of the two countries and the way to forge new partnerships between Indian and Russian businesses.
On the last day of the three-day visit, the Commerce Minister participated in the session of “Timber in the Russian Far East: Increasing the Industries Economic Returns”. Discussions were held on how to explore possibilities of working together for mutual benefit through this resource in a sustainable manner. India is one of the world’s largest importers of timber having imported over 3 mn cubic meters of topical logs in 2016 and 346,000 cubic meters of tropical veneer. Although bulk of imports have come from countries like Malaysia, Myanmar, Ghana and Ecuador it is now facing difficulties in securing raw material from these countries. This opens up opportunities for suppliers in the Far East Region of Russia which enjoys an abundance of timber resources.
Suresh Prabhu also met Rustam Minnikhanov, Governor of Tatarstan, Russia and talks centred around cooperation between India and Russia in sectors like pharma, automobiles, logistics and agriculture.
The Commerce Minister participated in the session on “Digital Transport: The future of Greater Eurasia at the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia”. The Minister said that sustainable mobility solutions are emerging as an important industry across the world and India is looking to working with partners like Russia in the green mobility space.
Commerce Minister, Suresh Prabhu, ended his tour to Vladivostok with a visit to Radio Sputnik and spoke about India’s investment potential, opportunities for Russian businesses and future avenues for economic cooperation between India and Russia.