The BRICS Summit in Xiamen provided another opportunity for a bilateral meeting between PM Modi and President Putin within three months of their high-profile summit in St Petersburg. Official briefings on both sides projected it as a review of decisions taken at St Petersburg. One follow-up of the discussion was the visit to India in end-September of President Putin’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, for detailed discussions on Afghanistan.
 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj led an Indian official and business delegation to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok – an annual international economic event, which is strongly supported by President Putin, with the objective of promoting domestic and foreign investment in the Russian Far East to develop it and to exploit the abundant natural resources of the region, beyond hydrocarbons. This high-level Indian participation apparently resulted from the discussions at the St Petersburg Summit; India’s level of participation should have pleased the Russians. Notwithstanding the demographic, climatic and geographical challenges of this region, it offers attractive investment opportunities, because of its riches in mineral resources and because the Russian government is offering incentives like tax breaks and supportive infrastructural development. As the EAM indicated in her speech at the Forum, some Indian companies are in negotiations for investment.    

 

 

September 30, 2017

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About the Author

Ambassador PS Raghavan

Former Ambassador of India to Russia; Convener, National Security Advisory Board

Born in 1955, Ambassador Raghavan holds a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Physics and a B.E. in Electronics & Communications Engineering. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1979. From 1979 to 2000, he had diplomatic assignments in USSR, Poland, United Kingdom, Vietnam and South Africa, interspersed with assignments in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi. From 2000 to 2004, he was Joint Secretary in the Indian Prime Minister's Office dealing with Foreign Affairs, Nuclear Energy, Space, Defence and National Security. Thereafter, he was Ambassador of India to Czech Republic (2004 - 2007) and to Ireland (2007 - 2011).

He was Chief Coordinator of the BRICS Summit in New Delhi (March 2012) and Special Envoy of the Government of India to Sudan and South Sudan (2012-13). Ambassador Raghavan conceptualized and piloted the creation of the Development Partnership Administration (DPA) in MEA, which implements and monitors India’s economic partnership programs in developing countries, with an annual budget of $1-1.5 billion. He headed DPA in 2012-13. From March 2013 to January 2014, he oversaw the functioning of the Administration, Security, Information Technology and other related Divisions of MEA. Since October 2013, he was also Secretary [Economic Relations] in MEA, steering India’s bilateral and multilateral external economic engagement. Ambassador Raghavan retired from the Indian Foreign Service in January 2016, after serving from 2014 as Ambassador of India to Russia. Since September 2016, he is Convenor of the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India.

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