India and Russia recently concluded the much anticipated S-400 air defence systems deal which evoked a strong reaction from the US. Russia, which holds a substantial part of resource-rich Arctic region, has in-turn offered India access to the Northern Sea Route which connects Europe with the Pacific Rim including additional supplies of natural gas and joint development of gas fields to meet India’s growing energy requirements.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin made this announcement in New Delhi on Friday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing a business summit.
PM Modi 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 a 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 global markets.” Putin added
There was a concrete reference to the Indo-Russian partnership in the Arctic region in the joint statement issued after the annual summit in the Indian capital. “The two governments also expressed support to organisations from both sides ‘for development of cooperation and exploring opportunities for joint development’ of oilfields in Russian territory, including on the Arctic shelf, and projects on the shelf of the Pechora and Okhotsk Seas.”
The Arctic contains a wealth of petroleum and mineral resources. At present, 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.
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