VLADIVOSTOK: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday visited Zvezda shipbuilding complex along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who showed him the cutting edge technologies at the shipyard, where the two leaders interacted with the management and workers of the plant.
Modi, who arrived in Russia on a two-day visit during which he will hold summit talks with President Putin and attend the Eastern Economic Forum, is the first Indian prime minister to visit to the Russian Far East Region.
In a special gesture, President Putin accompanied Prime Minister Modi to the Zvezda shipyard.
The two leaders hugged and shook hands before their departure for the shipyard.
"During our visit, President Putin showed me cutting edge technologies at the shipyard. My visit opens up new pathways of cooperation in this important field," Modi said after his visit to the shipbuilding complex.
Modi said he was "deeply touched" by President Putin's gracious gesture to accompany him to Zvezda shipyard, which is poised to make a huge contribution to development of Arctic shipping.
"Strong winds propelling the India-Russia relationship! PM @narendramodi and Russian President Putin spending quality time together on board a ship on their way to 'Zvezda' Shipbuilding Complex," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
At the shipyard, Modi interacted with the management and workers of the plant.
"Newer areas of collaboration such as shipbuilding offer opportunities for diversifying the strong India-Russia economic ties," Kumar tweeted.
In the future, the ships built at that shipyard "will be used to deliver Russian oil and liquefied natural gas to world markets, including India," President Putin's aide Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying by Tass news agency.
The Zvezda shipyard is being set up on the base of the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center by a consortium of Rosneft, Rosneftegaz and Gazprombank.
The shipyard will produce heavy tonnage ships, offshore platform elements, ice-class vessels, special vessels, and other marine equipment, according to the Russian news agency.
Scripting new chapters of India-Russia friendship!— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 4, 2019
President Putin and PM @narendramodi meet in Vladivostok. In a special gesture, President Putin accompanied PM to the Zvezda shipyard. pic.twitter.com/pwvvASaK41
After their visit to the shipyard, the two leaders will hold the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, which Russia has hosted since 2015 to boost partnerships with Asian countries.
"A personal chemistry underlining a strong partnership President Putin welcomes PM @narendramodi in #Vladivostok for their 30th meeting. India-Russia relationship goes beyond relations between two capitals and are now at the cusp of expanding to new frontiers," Kumar tweeted.
In the summit talks, the two leaders are expected to discuss a number of key regional issues, including the Afghan peace process and situation in the Gulf region.
Both sides are expected to firm up a five-year roadmap 2019-2024 laying out possibilities of cooperation in oil and gas sector, in terms of exploration and exploitation, and purchase.
At present, India relies heavily on the Gulf region for its energy requirement.
Gokhale said India is looking at Russia as a major source of hydrocarbons so as to end its complete dependency on the Gulf region.
They are also expected to explore ways to enhance cooperation while working in multilateral organisations like Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China and South Africa).
Earlier, Modi was warmly welcomed at the Vladivostok airport on his third bilateral visit to Russia.
He received a guard of honour at the airport.
Ahead of his visit to Russia, Modi said he looked forward to discussing regional and international issues of mutual interest with President Putin.
"I look forward to discussing with my friend President Putin the entire gamut of our bilateral partnership as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest," he said in his departure statement in New Delhi.
"I also look forward to meeting other global leaders attending the Eastern Economic Forum, and interacting with Indian Industry and business representatives participating in it," Modi said.
The forum focuses on development of business and investment opportunities in the Russian Far East Region, and presents enormous potential for developing close and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Russia in the region.
In an interview with Russia's state-run TASS news agency ahead of his visit, Modi said he shared a "special chemistry" with the Russian President and is keen on technology transfers so that the two sides can make military equipment in India at cheaper rates for export to third countries.
"I am confident that this visit will give a new vector, new energy and a new impetus to the relations between our countries," Modi said.
Russia and India are set to sign about 15 documents, including some in the military-technical sectors, within the framework of the 20th Russian-Indian summit that will take place on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), a Tass report said.