Vladivostok (Russia): Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Zvezda shipbuilding complex along with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday and interacted with the management and workers of the shipyard.
Modi, who arrived in Russia on a two-day visit during which he will hold summit talks with President Putin and attend the Eastern Economic Forum, is the first Indian prime minister to visit to the Russian Far East Region.
During his visit to the shipyard, Prime Minister Modi was accompanied by President Putin. The two leaders hugged and shook hands before their departure for Zvezda shipyard.
"Strong winds propelling the India-Russia relationship! PM @narendramodi and Russian President Putin spending quality time together on board a ship on their way to 'Zvezda' Shipbuilding Complex," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
At the shipyard, Modi interacted with the management and workers of the plant.
"PM @narendramodi and President Putin visited the Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex. Newer areas of collaboration such as shipbuilding offer opportunities for diversifying the strong India- Russia economic ties," Kumar tweeted.
In the future, the ships built at that shipyard "will be used to deliver Russian oil and liquefied natural gas to world markets, including India," President Putin's aide Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying by Tass news agency.
The Zvezda shipyard is being set up on the base of the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center by a consortium of Rosneft, Rosneftegaz and Gazprombank. The shipyard will produce heavy tonnage ships, offshore platform elements, ice-class vessels, special vessels, and other marine equipment, according to the Russian news agency.
After their visit to the shipyard, the two leaders will hold the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, which Russia has hosted since 2015 to boost partnerships with Asian countries.
"A personal chemistry underlining a strong partnership President Putin welcomes PM @narendramodi in #Vladivostok for their 30th meeting. India-Russia relationship goes beyond relations between two capitals and are now at the cusp of expanding to new frontiers," Kumar tweeted.
In the summit talks, the two leaders are expected to discuss a number of key regional issues, including the Afghan peace process and situation in the Gulf region.
Both sides are expected to firm up a five-year roadmap 2019-2024 laying out possibilities of cooperation in oil and gas sector, in terms of exploration and exploitation, and purchase.
At present, India relies heavily on the Gulf region for its energy requirement. Gokhale said India is looking at Russia as a major source of hydrocarbons so as to end its complete dependency on the Gulf region.
They are also expected to explore ways to enhance cooperation while working in multilateral organisations like Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China and South Africa).
Earlier, Modi was warmly welcomed at the Vladivostok airport on his third bilateral visit to Russia. He received a guard of honour at the airport.
Ahead of his visit to Russia, Modi said he looked forward to discussing regional and international issues of mutual interest with President Putin.
"I look forward to discussing with my friend President Putin the entire gamut of our bilateral partnership as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest," he said in his departure statement in New Delhi.
"I also look forward to meeting other global leaders attending the Eastern Economic Forum, and interacting with Indian Industry and business representatives participating in it," Modi said.
The forum focuses on development of business and investment opportunities in the Russian Far East Region, and presents enormous potential for developing close and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Russia in the region.
In an interview with Russia's state-run TASS news agency ahead of his visit, Modi said he shared a "special chemistry" with the Russian President and is keen on technology transfers so that the two sides can make military equipment in India at cheaper rates for export to third countries.
"I am confident that this visit will give a new vector, new energy and a new impetus to the relations between our countries," Modi said.
Recalling his first meeting with Putin in 2001, Modi said in an interview with TASS, “Then (in 2011) I arrived in Moscow with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I was the chief minister of Gujarat and this was our first meeting. But Putin did not at all make it clear that I am less significant, that I am from a small state or that I am a new person. He treated me as friendly as his own. As a result, the doors of friendship were open.”
Modi recalled how he and the Russian president, during their first meet, discussed not only issues relating to the two countries, but also talked about their hobbies and world problems.