[Answered] “Russia’s far-east region is economically and strategically important for India to counter China in the region.” Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Importance of Russian Far East for India.
Conclusion. Way forward.

Relations between India and Russia are rooted in history, mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation.  This is a strategic partnership that has withstood the test of time, and which enjoys the support of the people of both countries. There are various investment opportunities in Russia especially in its Far East region. If India leverages Russia’s Far East it could turn out to be a growth area for Indian business.

Strategic and economic importance of Russia’s Far East:

  1. Gateway to East Asia: India’s ties with the Russian Far East could help cement Indo-Russian relations as well as bolster its ties with Central Asia and East Asia. It would connect India to East Asia especially Japan.
  2. Economic opportunities: The region occupying 40 per cent of Russia’s total territory is rich in natural resources, particularly diamonds, gold, oil, natural gas, coal, timber, silver, platinum, tin, lead, and zinc. It also has rich fishing grounds. The region is economically undeveloped, lacks good infrastructure and communications.
  3. Employment opportunities: A lack of manpower is one of the main problems faced by the Far East and Indian professionals like doctors, engineers and teachers can help in the region’s development. Presence of Indian manpower will also help in balancing Russian concerns over Chinese migration into the region. Further, India, one of the largest importers of timber, can find ample resources in the region. Japan and South Korea have also been investing and New Delhi may explore areas of joint collaboration.
  4. Strategic importance: The Russian Far East is at the forefront of geopolitics centred on the Indo-Pacific and is key in  pivot to Asia. The region borders the Chinese provinces of is one of the longest in the world. Presence in these areas will help to tackle China economically and strategically.
  5. Energy Resources: The area is rich hydrocarbon reserves in the region throw up immense opportunities for Indian companies. ONGC Videsh has already invested in the Sakhalin-1 project and its terminal is acknowledged as the best in Russia. India is set to get gas from Gazprom that will probably be liquefied at a plant near Vladivostok.
  6. Small scale industries: For India, there is immense potential for mid-sized and small businesses who should be assisted to overcome language and cultural barriers so that they successfully adopt local business practices. The large diamond reserves in the region should be a magnet for the Indian diamond cutting and polishing industry, which is already facing tough competition in Africa from the Chinese.
  7. Manufacturing industries: Infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture development are also areas of opportunity for Indian business and labour. Tele-medicine and long distance education are other areas where Indian companies can make a mark. It would also help in increasing India’s exports.

Thus it is important, India could help mediate and partner Japanese involvement in the development of Russia’s Far East. It is time the India to the invest in the Russian Far East, a region that might well define the dynamics of great power interactions in the Indo-Pacific in the future.

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