4 Oct 2019

Eastern Economic Forum(EEF)

Source: EEF & India Today

The Prime Minister of India has participated in Plenary Session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, Russia 

About EEF 

  • The Eastern Economic Forum was established by decree of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in 2015 to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East and to expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Goal: To make the Russian Far East more accessible to investors and comfortable for the people that live there, providing them with the confidence that their dreams will become a reality in the nearest future.
  • Among the participants in the 2019 Summit are India, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, and South Korea

India’s participation 

  • This was the first instance of an Indian prime minister attending the East Economic Forum.
  • During the 2019 summit the Prime Minister of India has announced $1 billion line of credit for Russian Far East. Seen from geostrategic lens, this gives India another vantage point to counter Chinese game of encircling India through what is called the String of Pearls policy.
  • During his visit, India and Russia agreed for a sea link between Vladivostok, the capital of Russian Far East and Chennai. This will reduce the transport time from existing 40 days to 24 days. An understanding for Vladivostok-Chennai sea link was reached last year when late Sushma Swaraj visited Russia as foreign minister.
  • Realising geostrategic significance of Far East Russia, India opened a consulate in Vladivostok in 1992. India was the first country to have a resident consulate in Vladivostok.

About the Far East region of Russia

  • It is a region extending between Lake Baikal – the world’s largest freshwater lake and deepest lake, and the Pacific Ocean.
  • This is a region situated in the cold Siberian climate but more significantly, it shares borders with China, Mongolia, North Korea and Japan (maritime). 
  • On its own, it could be the eight largest – just behind India – in terms of area, and fourth least densely populated country.
  • Russian Far East is a resource rich region in a hostile climate. It is rich in oil, natural gas, timber, gold and diamonds among other resources. India requires all of them.

Achievements of EEF in last 5 years

  • In the last five years, as many as 17 different countries have invested in the Far East
  • These include regional and global heavyweights like China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. As a result, 20 advanced special economic zones and five free ports have been put in place