India to lend Russia $1 billion and begin exporting Siberian timber

India is set to give Russia a $1 billion credit line, said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum, which is being held in Vladivostok, Russia, between September 4 and 6. The funds will be used to develop the Far East.

The Indian head of state emphasized that it is completely unprecedented for India to give another country a loan. “Today’s announcement on the allocation of a credit line will be a starting platform for us, from which we will grow and develop in the Far East,”  said the Indian  Prime Minister. According to Modi, this loan will help to ensure $5 billion in investments.

At previous talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Indian PM, special attention was given to collaboration in the energy sphere. According to Putin, in 2018 Russia offloaded 2.3 million tons of oil in India, nearly 550,000 tons of oil products, and 4.5 million tons of coal. He pointed out that most of the hydrocarbon exports to India originate in the Far East.

According to The India Times, in exchange for the investment, India is expecting to gain access to the timber resources of Siberia and the Far East, with which it hopes to offset its domestic timber deficit.

Preliminary timber trade agreements were reached on August 11-13 in Vladivostok during a visit by an Indian delegation that included the governors of four Indian states and the executives of 140 Indian companies, and was headed by Minister of Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal. Russia was represented in the talks by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev, the governors of 11 Russian federal subjects, and executives from 200 Russian firms.

The agreements that were reached, which aim to grow the annual reciprocal trade to $30 million by 2025, were expected to be confirmed in a personal meeting between Putin and Modi at the Eastern Economic Forum.

  Russia, India, Siberia