Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses at the Plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) 2019 as the Chief Guest in Vladivostok, Russia. Photograph:( IANS )
During his address, the prime minister hailed the people of Russia, its Far East and Vladivostok.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday addressed the plenary session of Eastern Economic Forum in Russia and announced extending $1 billion line of credit for the development of Russia's Far East. He is the chief guest at the Forum.
This will be the first time when any such line of credit is being extended to a particular region of a country. The move is in accordance with India's Act East policy and can be seen as a take-off point of the same, the prime minister added.
During his address, the prime minister hailed the people of Russia, Vladivostok and Russia's Far East.
"For the development of the Far East, India has decided to extend a line of credit of $1 billion," the prime minister announced.
"I was invited to the event by President Putin even before the elections invited," the prime minister said.
"The people of the Far East have stood the test of time and nature's challenges," he said, adding that the people are inspiring and that India is moved by the vision of its people and share it as well.
"Eastern Economic Forum is an initiative which should reach all parts of the world," PM Modi said.
Russian Far East is the easternmost territory of Russia between Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean and shares a land border with Mongolia, China and Korea and maritime border with the US and Japan.
Explaining India's connect with that part of Russia, the prime minister said "India's connection with the Far East is old. India was the first country to open its consulate in Vladivostok. Even during Soviet time, while other foreigners were prohibited to visit the part of Russia, Indians could easily visit".
Highlighting India's investment in the oil, gas sector and gems sector, PM Modi said," "this area is an opportunity for India" and President Putin's focus on the region has turned the area from "frozen land to flower land"
He said India wants to work with Russia for the development of Russian Far East and "President Putin has a vision for this region" adding, like Russia, "India has a policy of sabka sath sabka vikas and the aim is to make India $5 trillion economy BY 2024".
Talking about Vladivostok-Chennai maritime connect, PM Modi said it will help Indian products reach northeast Asia. PM also mentioned about Indo-Pacific concept and called for "free and inclusive Indo-Pacific". New Delhi believes that Vladivostok can be a springboard for US-India led Indo-Pacific concept that connects the Indian and Pacific ocean but is seen suspiciously by China as an attempt to contain it.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with world leaders including Japanese and Malaysian counterparts and the president of Mongolia.
In a press briefing, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Thursday touched upon the details of the three engagements.
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and PM Modi discussed Africa and strengthening ties in trade, defence and economy between the two countries.
Regional trade cooperation was taken up with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad. Malaysia conveyed its position against any form of terror and stated that officials from both the countries are in touch regarding the matter of Zakir Naik's extradition.
With the Mongolian President, PM Modi talked about boosting people-to-people connect and the cultural, spiritual connection between the two nations. The leaders also discussed ways to tackle air pollution. India will be taking up the project of building a major oil refinery in Mongolia to meet the country's needs.
This is the Prime Minister's maiden visit to the Russian Far East region. He will head for India later in the evening.