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Sanctions No Hindrance for Expanding Indo-Russian Economic Ties, Says PM Modi

Prime Minister Modi said Indian companies have made investments in Russian oil and gas sector and Russian firms have investments in energy, defense, and technology transfer to India.

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Updated:September 5, 2019, 4:41 PM IST
Sanctions No Hindrance for Expanding Indo-Russian Economic Ties, Says PM Modi
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, talk to each other as they visit shipyard Zvezda, outside the far-eastern Russian port of Vladivostok. (Image: AP)

Vladivostok: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the sanctions imposed by the US on Russia have no effect on India bolstering cooperation with Moscow in strategic sectors like energy and defence.

Prime Minister Modi said Indian companies have made investments in Russian oil and gas sector and Russian firms have investments in energy, defence and technology transfer to India.

"(Sanctions) are no hindrance for both the countries," Modi, who addressed the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum here, said when asked for his views on the US imposing economic sanctions against companies and countries.

The prime minister, however, said: "there are a concern and debate in the world over the impact of sanctions against one country on other nations and the overall global economy."

Russia has been grappling with sanctions slapped by the US and its allies over Moscow's invasion of Crimea. Some of those sanctions include limiting Russian banks' access to international capital markets.

Russia has faced an uphill struggle to maintain sales by its strategic defence sector partly because of the US sanctions that threaten anyone who buys Russian weapons.

The US has been pushing New Delhi to cancel a more than USD 5 billion contract to buy Russian advanced S-400 air-defence missile systems.

India's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Russian Ministry of Energy on Wednesday signed an agreement on the expansion of cooperation in oil and gas sector, along with an MoU on the use of natural gas for transportation.

The two countries also signed an MoU between Coal India Limited and Far East Investment and Export Agency to cooperate in coking coal mining projects implementation in the Russian Far East.

Indian firms have invested over USD 7 billion in taking a stake in Russian oil and gas fields. India ventured into Russia when its flagship overseas firm ONGC Videsh in 2001 acquired a 20 per cent stake in Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field in Far East Russia.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Wednesday said India's decision to bolster its energy ties with resource-rich Russia has nothing to do with the issues faced by the country on purchasing oil and LNG from Iran, another major player, now hit by US sanctions.

Gokhale noted that Iran has been a reliable and major supplier of energy to India. However, India was scouting for more sources because of its growing energy requirements.

After pulling out America from the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration imposed economic sanctions against Tehran aimed to end all oil sales by the country.

India and other countries have cut oil imports from Iran after the US threatened to impose sanctions on them if they failed to comply.

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