In an interaction with Russian Media Delegation, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today said that the year 2019 was a marking year which boosted the bilateral relations between India and Russia so far. The special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries was strengthened significantly.
Minister Pradhan also added how the Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has described Russia as a reliable partner and a special friend whereas President Putin, in turn, has talked of taking India-Russia relations to new heights of cooperation. He further added to it that it is very rare to find two major powers that have developed a partnership such as a country like India- Russia.
On bilateral co-operation in the steel sector, Minister Pradhan said that they remember fondly the contribution of the Soviet Union in the development of India’s steel industry. while appreciating the efforts shown by Russia, he added that they recognize the immense potential of Russia in supply coking or metallurgical coal, which is largely imported by India, to support the Indian steel industry. Minister Pradhan also talked about his visit to Moscow and a follow-up visit to Vladivostok, in which he shared an experience when they were able to identify the strong potential for expanding cooperation between India and the Russian Far East for import of coking coal.
Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had also requested Russian authorities to invest in developing the inland and port logistic of the Far East, which will help to improve the connectivity of these ports with mining locations and improvements in evacuation infrastructure. In a short span of fewer than six months, Indian steelmakers significantly increased off-peak of coking coal from Far East Russia. Minister Pradhan also showed his optimism in this sector in the coming years.
While in conversation about the co-operation in the oil and gas sector, Minister Pradhan said that the success behind the strengthening of the hydrocarbon sector is the guidance of the strong leaders who have always supported the major decisions. He also termed the connection between two countries like India- Russia as the Energy Bridge, with Russia being one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas and India being the world’s third-largest energy consumer, Russia has the potential to become an important source to fulfill India’s oil and gas requirements. The Joint Statement on cooperation in oil and gas during Hon’ble Prime Minister’s visit to Russia in September provides a roadmap to deepen cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector. Minister Pradhan also said that India will invite investments by Russian companies in the Indian oil and gas sector, particularly in the gas business, gas infrastructure, and petrochemicals.
He also talked about India as becoming the gas-based economy as it has laid the investment over $60 billion in developing natural supply and distribution infrastructure. LNG imports from Russia at competitive rates will help us in meeting the objectives of price stability and energy security.
The discussion went further to the connectivity and to which Minister Pradhan said that they are keen to explore the new northern sea route to source crude oil and LNG through Russia’s Arctic. The route has the potential to cut the cost and time for transporting LNG from Russia to India. A sea line between Far-East Russia and the East coast of India will also facilitate the sourcing of coking coal from the region.
While coming off to the discussion he concluded it by saying that he is looking forward to the strategy to diversify our crude oil supply sources and we are now exploring ways to import crude from Russia as well.