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SOURCE: The Statesman

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin witnessed the exchange of 15 agreements ushering in new areas of cooperation including connectivity, deep-sea exploration, space, nuclear energy, among others, at the India-Russia 20th Annual Summit in Vladivostok on Wednesday.

Ahead of the exchange of MoUs, the two leaders discussed bolstering cooperation in trade and investment, oil and gas, mining, nuclear energy, defence and security, air and maritime connectivity, transport infrastructure, hi-tech, outer space and people-to-people ties. Addressing the media at a joint press conference, President Valdimir Putin announced that Russia will build 20 more nuclear power plants in India.

Putin also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accepting his invitation to attend the celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War in Moscow in May 2020.

“I will wait for you,” he said, wrapping up his statement on talks with PM Modi.

PM Modi, in his address, expressed his happiness over his visit to Vladivostok while thanking the Russian President for the invite.

He said he was honoured to be the first-ever Indian PM to be coming to Vladivostok.

Speaking on India-Russia ties, PM Modi said “the power of India-Russia friendship has been leveraged for the mutual benefit of our citizens” adding that “this friendship was not restricted to their respective capital cities”.

On the strategic space cooperation, Modi said the cooperation in space between the two countries is touching new heights. “New chapters are being added to the strategic relationship between the two countries.”

Meanwhile, a proposal has been made to have a full-fledged maritime route that serves as a link between Chennai and Vladivostok, PM Modi announced.

Modi further said that India and Russia realise the importance of a multipolar world. “We are working together on many global forums like BRICS and SCO,” he said.

He further said that both the countries were against outside influence in the internal matters of any nation.

This comes as Russia has maintained that abrogation of Article 370 is the “sovereign decision” of the Indian government adding that it was an “internal matter” of India.

All issues existing between India and Pakistan should be resolved through dialogue on the basis of the 1972 Simla Agreement and the Lahore declaration, Russian Envoy to India, Nikolay Kudashev had said last week.

Earlier in the day, during a delegation-level meeting, PM Modi said Russia is an integral friend and trustworthy partner of India. “You have personally focussed on expanding our special and privileged strategic partnership. As two integral friends, we have met regularly. I have spoken to you over telephone on several issues, I have never felt any hesitation,” he said.

The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude for being selected for the “Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle”, the highest civilian award of the Russian Federation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had in April this year signed the decree to award the Indian Prime Minister.

The PM has been decorated with the “Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle” for exceptional services in promoting special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India and friendly relations between the Russian and the Indian people.

Thanking Putin, Modi said, “You have announced that I will be awarded Russia’s highest civilian award. I express my gratitude to you and the people of Russia. This demonstrates the friendly relations between the people of our two countries. It’s a matter of honour for the 1.3 billion Indians.”

He further thanked the Russian President for inviting him as the chief guest at the fifth Eastern Economic Forum.

PM Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Russia, will attend the annual Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) as the chief guest and hold some bilateral meetings on Thursday.

The EEF is held annually with the objective of facilitating accelerated development of the Russian Far East’s economy and expanding international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

During the EEF, a “Russia-India” dialogue is planned as part of the Forum’s business programme, to be attended by representatives from both countries. In addition, India will have a national stand at the EEF venue to present the country’s economic, industrial, tourism and cultural potential.

Earlier in the day, Modi accompanied by Kremlin visited the Zvezda shipbuilding facility which is being expanded and has scope for foreign investment. The PM also interacted with the management and workers of the shipyard.

Modi and Putin last met in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek in June on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit and agreed on the need to explore new areas of cooperation.

Below is the list of MoUs/Agreements exchanged between India and Russia:

1. Joint Statement “Reaching New Heights of Cooperation through Trust and Partnership”.

2. Joint Strategy for the Enhancement of India- Russia Trade and Investments.

3. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and Government of the Russian Federation and on the cooperation in the production of spare parts for Russian/Soviet military equipment.

4. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperation in Audiovisual Co-production.

5. Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation on bilateral cooperation in the road transport and road industry.

6. Memorandum of Intent between the Ministry of Shipping of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation on the Development of Maritime Communications between the Port of Chennai, Republic of India and the Port of Vladivostok, Russian Federation.

7. Plan for cooperation between the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Ministry of Finance, Republic of India and the Federal Customs Service (Russian Federation), for combating customs violations in 2019-2022.

8. Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of the Republic of India on the use of Natural Gas for Transportation.

9. Program between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation on expansion of cooperation in oil and gas sector.

10. Memorandum of Understanding between Coal India Limited and Far East Investment and Export Agency to cooperate in coking coal mining projects implementation in the Russian Far East.

11. Cooperation Agreement between Invest India and the Russian Direct Investment Fund for Investment Collaboration.

12. Cooperation Agreement between the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry the Roscongress Foundation.

13. Memorandum of Understanding between the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Autonomous Non-profit Organization Agency for Strategic Initiatives to promote New Projects.

14. Memorandum of understanding between the Joint Stock Company NOVATEK and PETRONET LNG Limited on cooperation with respect to the joint development of downstream LNG Business and LNG supplies.

15. Agreement on Cooperation between Joint-Stock Company Rosgeologia and Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited.