New Delhi: Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan today met with Leonid Petukov, CEO of Far East Russia Investment and Export Agency, in New Delhi. The Russian delegation included Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev, Trade Representative of Russian Federation in India, Yaroslav Tarasyuk, and other senior officials from the Far East Russia Investment and Export Agency. Minister of State for steel Fagan Singh Kulaste, Secretary (Steel) Binoy Kumar, and senior representatives of Steel, Coal, and External Affairs were also present along with industry leaders from Indian steel, coal, and port sectors.
Discussions centred around further developing economic linkages with Far East Russia, particularly through sourcing of metallurgical or coking coal, development of infrastructure of Far East Russia ports and connectivity of these ports with Russian mining locations, and improvements in evacuation infrastructure.
Pradhan also reviewed the progress made in strengthening ties pursuant to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Far East Russia. He further said that pursuant to his visit to Moscow and Vladivostok during the last three months, in which he had met Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Yuri Trutnev and subsequent meetings of representatives of Russian and Indian steel companies, the latter have started testing samples of coking coal from Far East Russia in their plants.
Pradhan stated that offtake of coal from Far East Russia can grow as the coking coal from Far East Russia becomes more attractive from the point of view of price, ease of availability, connectivity to the ports and sea transport.
He expressed hope that improvements by the Russian side in developing inland as well as port logistics and rail connectivity in Far East would go a long way in developing economic linkages with India.
Pradhan also suggested to the Agency to indicate specific concessions that can be made to Indian importers of coking coal, and to offer port facilities at preferential terms for Indian companies.
Pradhan thanked the representatives from the Agency for visiting India and expressed confidence that the coming months will see significant increase in the import of coking coal for the Indian steel industry from Far East Russia.
India currently imports more than 50 metric tons per annum of coking coal.
In view of the opportunity offered by Far East Russia to attract Indian investments, the Government of India earlier extended a US$1 billion line of credit to Russia. This line of credit can be used for furthering economic linkages with Far East Russia, including development of evacuation infrastructure and logistics in Far East Russia.
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