India keen to participate in 2021 edition of Russia’s EEF

Moscow/New Delhi : India has voiced keenness in participating in the business programme of the 2021 edition of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) to be held in Vladivostok in Russia’s far east in September, and also in organizing a Russia–India–Japan trilateral meeting.

This was conveyed by India’s ambassador to Russia D. B. Venkatesh Varma to Anton Kobyakov, the Executive Secretary of the Eastern Economic Forum Organizing Committee, during a meeting held last week.

Kobyakov, who is also adviser to the Russian President, met Varma during which they discussed the possible formats for India’s participation in the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) 2021 and the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2022, as well as the members of the Indian delegation, the business programme events, and agreements that the two sides could sign, according to a Russian embassy press statement.

During the talks, Varma said that “The Indian delegation is ready to contribute to the business programme of the Eastern Economic Forum. We are interested in organizing a Russia–India–Japan trilateral meeting as well as meetings at the level of the federal ministers of Russia and India.”

He said India is also keen to expand Russian-Indian business contacts at the regional level. “For example, business representatives of the state of Gujarat WEF were invited to the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) as part of the EEF to secure agreements in the diamond industry and pharmaceuticals that were reached at the Forum in 2019. Given the closed borders, participation in the EEF opens a window of opportunity for the realization of joint business interests,” Varma said.

Kobyakov said that the traditionally friendly Russian-Indian ties have in recent years attained the level of a particularly privileged strategic partnership that represents a unique format of interstate interaction. “We consider it very important to expand cooperation in the Eurasian Economic Community space and also continue the dialogue on the North-South International Transport Corridor Project whose implementation will significantly expand our trade opportunities,” he added.

Kobyakov pointed out that the 6th EEF edition to be held in Vladivostok from 2–4 September will be the second major international event held after SPIEF in 2021, and that it will be held in a hybrid format.

Kobyakov said the event is expected to be attended by prominent guests and feature fruitful discussions.

During the meeting, the two officials discussed the members of the Indian delegation in the EEF 2021 edition. They noted that then Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had taken part in the Forum in 2017. India’s official delegation was led by Indian Minister of Industry and Trade Suresh Prabhu in 2018. In 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the main guest of the Forum.

They also discussed the Russia–India business dialogue that is part of the Forum’s business programme.

The officials discussed prolonging a cooperation agreement at the EEF 2021 with one of Russia’s key partners in India – the Invest India National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency, the statement added.

The Eastern Economic Forum was established in 2015 to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East and to expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

It has been held annually since 2015 in the Russian port city of Vladivostok. Both the EEF and the SPIEF could not be held last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.