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Eastern Economic Forum

1. India’s PM has been invited as the chief guest for the fifth edition of the Eastern Economic Forum.

2. India has announced a $ 1 billion line of credit to the region and shipping line from Vladivostok to Chennai for transportation of oil would be started.  

What is Eastern Economic Forum?

1. It is an international forum held each year in Russia to encourage foreign investment in the Russian Far East region.

2. It is aimed to support the economic development of Russia’s far east.

3. It seeks to attract foreign investment in the region which is resource-rich but highly underdeveloped.

4. It also seeks to expand international cooperation in the Asia Pacific Region.

5. It also serves as a platform for discussion of key issues such as world economy, regional integration and the development of new industrial and technological sectors.

6. The forum’s business programme includes business dialogues with partner countries in the Asia-Pacific region and ASEAN.

Russia’s Far East Region

1. Russia’s Far East is a huge geographic region also known as the Siberian region is sparsely populated due to its harsh climatic conditions. It is twice the size of India and rich in resources.

2. Vegetation is mostly taiga, with a tundra belt on the northern fringe, and a temperate forest zone in the south.

3. It has short summers and long, brutally cold winters. On the north coast, north of the Arctic Circle, there is a very short (about one-month-long) summer.

Who participated in the forum?

1. India, Japan, China, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Mongolia.

2. Representatives from a wide range of industries participated.

Why does Russia need India?

1. Russia needs the help of Asian countries other than China to develop this region.

2. Russia is keen to balance Chinese presence through Indian investments and manpower.

3. The resource-rich region also can fulfill India’s energy needs.

When did Indo – Russia's bilateral relationship start?

1. Soviet Union supported India’s freedom movement and many Indian leaders were inspired by the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

2. India established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union shortly before independence in 1947.

3. After independence, the immediate goal for India was to attain self-sufficiency through investment in heavy industry.

4. Soviet Union invested in mining, energy production, steel plants, and heavy machine-building industries in India.

5. During India’s second five-year plan, 16 new projects were set up of which 8 projects were supported by the Soviet Union. This included the establishment of IIT Bombay.

6. It vetoed twice, in 1957 and 1962, the anti-Indian initiatives at UNSC in regard to J&K.

7. It also supported India’s move to liberate Goa from Portuguese rule in 1961.

8. In 1971 the treaty of Peace and Friendship was signed.

9. In 1993, India and Russia entered into a new treaty of friendship and cooperation and a bilateral military-technical cooperation agreement was signed in 1994.

Where does the bilateral relation stand now?

1. In 2000 the relationship was enhanced to the strategic partnership and in 2010 the partnership was elevated to special and privileged strategic partnerships.  

2. Since 2014 the annual bilateral summit has resulted in the following progress –

a. Both countries agreed to set up new nuclear plants in India and broader collaboration in hydrocarbon companies in oil and gas exploration and production.

b. Both countries set a target of bilateral trade of $ 30 billion trade by 2024.

c. MoUs were signed related to Trade and investment, energy, education, science and technology, culture and tourism, people to people contact, space, defence, security, railways and disaster management.

d. In 2016 India signed a deal for the S-400 air missile system and Agreement to increase mutual investments up to $15 billion.

How do both countries function on International forums?

1. Both countries have similar positions and coordinate action at international forums.

2. Both have cooperated closely within the United Nations and G20 grouping as well as in the various structures in the Asia-Pacific region such as ASEAN and East Asia Summit Forum.

3. India was admitted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2017 with Russia’s support.

Which are the issues in the bilateral trade?

1. Both countries are unable to move further from traditional areas such as defence and nuclear cooperation.

2. Partnership in new areas has made not much progress. Investment and bilateral trade are minimal, and it is not sustainable.