• Recently, India’s INS Kochi and Russian ships engaged in the international Passage Exercise (PASSEX).
  • A passage exercise is normally undertaken whenever an opportunity arises, in contrast to pre-planned maritime drills.
  • Earlier, Indian Naval ships conducted PASSEX with the US Navy also.

Important points:

  • Russia’s inclusion as a dialogue partner of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) has opened up a plethora of opportunities for collaboration with India including a possible maritime security architecture to create balance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and on scientific and research endeavors.
  • India has scientific, environmental, commercial and strategic interests in the Arctic region, and the Russian Arctic can potentially address India’s energy security objectives.
  • Russia has the largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, enough to last for about 80 years at current production rates.
  • The Russian Arctic also has vast deposits of cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, iron, nickel, platinum, high-value rare earth elements, titanium, vanadium and zirconium.
  • The Arctic accounts for 90% of Russia’s nickel and cobalt production, 60% of copper, and over 96% of platinum metals.
  • Indian rare earth reserves are richer in lighter fractions and deficient in heavier ones.
  • Most of the rare earth products used in strategic industries viz. Defence, fibre optic communications, space and nuclear energy are also critical to various clean energy technologies, including wind turbines and electric vehicles.
  • The Russian Arctic, therefore, has the potential to mitigate India’s critical deficiencies in rare earth and strategic minerals.
  • For Indian ports, the Northern Sea Route or NSR does not offer any benefits and is longer than the current route, for Rotterdam.
  • However, there are other avenues for cooperation on the NSR.
  • Russia has announced its intention, inter alia, to ensure year-round, safe, uninterrupted and cost-effective navigation in the waters of the NSR.
  • India has indicated its willingness to partner with Russia, stating that “India and Russia will also be partners in opening of the NSR for international trade and commerce”. In response, President Putin has stated that Russia welcomes India’s interests in the NSR.


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