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Training for Polar & Arctic: Russia & India Deepen Maritime Cooperation

Utkarsh Classes 14-09-2023
Training for Polar & Arctic: Russia & India Deepen Maritime Cooperation Agreements and MoU 5 min read

Russia has agreed to train Indian sailors in navigating the frozen Polar and Artic water at its Russian Maritime Training Institute, Vladivostok .

This was agreed during the meeting between the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal and the Russian Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic  Alexey Chekunkov.

Sarbananda Sonowal was in Russia to  represent India in the 8th Eastern Economic Forum meeting being held in the Russian city of Vladivostok from 10-13 September 2023. 

Proposed India Russia Maritime route 

During the meeting both the countries agreed to increase maritime cooperation between the two nations and explore the feasibility of the Eastern Maritime Corridor and Northern Sea Route. 

Eastern Maritime Corridor 

The Eastern Maritime Corridor is a  proposed sea route between the ports of Chennai and Vladivostok.  Vladivostok which means ‘Ruler of the East’ is the largest port on Russia’s Pacific coast and is the base of the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy.  Vladivostok city lies in the Russian Far East Region. The Russian Far East Region is very rich in resources like oil, timber ,and metals . 

India has made sizable investments in the region. ONGC Videsh Limited has a 20% stake in the Sakhalin oil fields.

The Eastern Maritime Corridor will cover a distance of 5,600 nautical miles.

Benefits to India

  • It will reduce the distance and time taken for maritime cargo to move from India to Russia by half,
  • The route will provide India with an alternative to the Suez route on which it currently depends for trade with Europe.
  • The corridor will increase India's presence in the South China Sea  trade route,currently  dominated by China.

Northern Sea Route 

The Northern Sea Route runs along Russia’s northern coastline and is the shortest shipping route between Europe and East Asia. It passes through the Barents, Kara, Laptev and East Siberian Sea of the Arctic Ocean.

  • The route covers 13,000 km as compared to the 21,000 km covered by the Suez Canal route.
  • The route passes through the Arctic ocean near the north pole. Being near the Arctic circle navigation is very difficult in the reign as the Arctic ocean is always covered with ice around the year. However due to global warming the ice in the region is breaking up making it attractive for shipping. 
  • Murmansk port of Russia is the main seaport in the region and is the beginning point of the Northern Sea Route .
  • Murmansk port which is near the arctic circle is ice free due to warm North Atlantic ocean current and is Russia's only port which has unrestricted access to the Atlantic ocean.
  • According to the report in The Hindu ,Murmansk port is witnessing the rising trend of Indian involvement in cargo traffic through Murmansk port. In the first seven months of 2023, India's share was 35% of the total cargo handled by the Murmansk port.
  • The Northern Sea Route will open an opportunity in transporting commodities such as coking coal, oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and fertilisers.  

FAQ

Answer : Vladivostok, Russia .

Answer : Russia. They will be trained at the Russian Maritime Training Institute, Vladivostok .

Answer : Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush

Answer : Chennai Port

Answer : North Western Russia. Despite being near the Arctic Circle it is ice free due to the warm North Atlantic ocean current.
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