India’s Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, embarked on a significant journey to Vladivostok, Russia, to represent India at the prestigious Eastern Economic Forum 2023. The forum, held in the Russian port city of Vladivostok, is a vital international platform for fostering economic cooperation, and Shri Sonowal’s visit is set to strengthen ties and explore strategic, trade, and logistical opportunities across various sectors.

Shri Sonowal’s itinerary includes crucial meetings with key Russian counterparts, such as Alexey Chekunkov, the Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, and Vitaly Saveliev, the Minister for Transport of Russia. These discussions aim to enhance the robust relationship between India and Russia and pave the way for cooperation in diverse sectors.

Expressing his gratitude and sense of responsibility, Shri Sonowal stated, “Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, the historic ties between India and Russia have reached new heights as we strengthen our trade and commerce. In view of this renewed vigor in the Indo-Russian relationship, we have been working together to develop an alternative trade route between the historic port cities of Vladivostok in Russia and Chennai in India. I believe during my visit and meetings with the leadership of Russia, we will be able to make progress in this important venture apart from fostering strategic, trade, and logistical cooperation between the two countries.”

As a representative of India, Shri Sonowal is scheduled to address the India-Russia Business Dialogue at the Eastern Economic Forum. His speech will emphasize the pivotal role of trade, commerce, and business in enhancing stability and sustainability within the special and privileged strategic partnership shared by India and Russia.

One of the key focuses during his visit will be the “Eastern Maritime Corridor,” aimed at reducing cargo transit times between India and Russia. The journey from Indian ports to the Russian Far East takes just 24 days, compared to 30 days through the port of Novorossiysk. This corridor holds immense potential to unlock new opportunities for trade and cooperation, benefiting both nations.

Shri Sonowal’s agenda also includes discussions with senior ministers of the Russian Federation on various possibilities to further strengthen bilateral relations. Among these discussions are explorations of the Northern Sea Route and the establishment of a Transshipment Hub in the Bay of Bengal, which could significantly bolster trade and connectivity.

The 8th Eastern Economic Forum, held from September 10 to 13, 2023, at the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) campus in Vladivostok, serves as a crucial international platform for building and strengthening ties within the Russian and global investment communities. It also evaluates the economic potential of Russia’s Far East, investment opportunities, and business conditions within advanced special economic zones.

The Eastern Economic Forum, initiated in 2015 by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, aims to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East and expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Shri Sarbananda Sonowal’s presence at this forum underlines India’s commitment to fostering robust international partnerships and exploring avenues for economic growth and cooperation on a global scale.