National

Russia makes India an offer it can’t refuse

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Russia, that holds significant part of resource-rich Arctic region, has offered India access to the Northern Sea Route that connects Europe with the Pacific Rim including additional supplies of natural gas and joint development of gas fields to meet New Delhi’s growing energy needs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made this announcement here on Friday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing a business summit.

“…the Prime Minister and I discussed this earlier today; we welcome our Indian partners to join the work in the Arctic as well. This is a very promising, long-term and very serious project that looks decades ahead, one with good investment and good return. As the climate continues to change — in some places, this is good, and elsewhere perhaps not so good —the Northern Sea Route offers growing opportunities,” Putin said in his address.

“We are building a nuclear-powered fleet, eight nuclear-powered ships, which will be steadily put into operation. This work is in progress. This will ensure reliable LNG supplies to the Indian and world markets. So this could be very interesting joint work,” he said.

There was concrete reference to Indo-Russian partnership in the Arctic region in the joint statement issued after the annual summit on Friday. “The two governments also expressed support to companies from both sides ‘for development of cooperation and exploring opportunities for joint development’ of oilNSE -10.57 % fields in Russian territory, including on the Arctic shelf, and projects on the shelf of the Pechora and Okhotsk Seas.”

Putin and Modi also discussed a 2017 joint study on possible gas supply routes from Russia to India, sources told ET.

The Arctic contains a wealth of petroleum and mineral resources.

Currently, the region produces about one tenth of the world’s oil and a quarter of its natural gas. The Russian Arctic is the source for about 80% of this oil and virtually all of the natural gas. The most developed sector of the region, the Russian Arctic also holds abundant deposits of nickel, copper, coal, gold, uranium, tungsten, and diamonds.

Putin assured “our country has been and will be a reliable energy supplier for the Indian economy”. He noted joint projects in the field of supplies of LNG are of strategic importance.

By: ET

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