Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale addressed a press conference on Monday where he spoke about the Prime Minister's upcoming bilateral visit to Russia which begins on September 4. Gokhale mentioned that the PM will be visiting Russia for two main reasons- Firstly, the PM has been invited to attend the Eastern Economic Forum by Russian President Putin as one of the chief guests and secondly, he will be holding the annual India-Russia Summit. The Prime Minister will be visiting Russia for just 36 hours and is scheduled to attend multiple conferences, summits and also attend a major Judo Championship which will be taking place in Vladivostok.
The Foreign Secretary laid out a broad plan of the two-day visit to far-East Russia, where the Prime Minister will first visit a shipyard where vessels such as oil tankers, ice breakers are built. He is also expected to hold bilateral meets with the Head of state of Mongolia, and the Prime Ministers of Japan and Malaysia who will also be attending the summit. Gokhale said that details of which bilateral meeting would take place in what order would be revealed in due course. The PM will make an address and there will also be a Russia-India business dialogue, for which a 50 member delegation will be present in Vladivostok.
Multiple visits by government authorities and business leaders to Russia have taken place over the last three months, including by the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Goa, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, as well as Railways and Commerce & Industry minister Piyush Goyal and Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan. An Indian business delegation of 150 business persons accompanied the ministers, which was important since it showcased India's intent in Russia's far east, an area where India can do business, and also the geopolitical advantage it provides in the Indo-Pacific region. While India's engagements in the region have been comparatively less, the Russian far-East is also resource-rich and provides an alternate sea route to Europe.
The Annual Summit will also be taking place in the same city. It will help to develop and broaden relations with Russia beyond civil, nuclear and defence and into other sectors of the economy. The big business and government delegation went to Russia for precisely the same reason. Oil and gas, space, railways are a few sectors which will definitely be taken up during the summit. One of the major projects to be discussed is a roadmap on Hydro-carbon cooperation. A five-year roadmap which will state possibilities incorporating oil and gas- focusing on exploration, exploitation and purchase - as India seeks to diversify its dependency beyond the Gulf. Gokhale also mentioned various government MOUs that will be signed across sectors including a maritime route between Chennai and Vladivostok.