India and Russia on Wednesday discussed various maritime opportunities, including the possibility of using new transport corridors like the Northern Sea Route and the Eastern Maritime Corridor between Vladivostok and Chennai.
Besides, both sides agreed to train Indian seafarers in Polar and Arctic waters at the Russian Maritime Training Institute, which is equipped with simulator training facilities, in Vladivostok, according to an official statement.
Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is participating in the eighth Eastern Economic Forum meeting being held in Russia's far eastern city Vladivostok from September 10-13.
At the forum, Sonowal -- who is the Minister for Ports,Shipping and Waterways -- met Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic A O Chekunkov.
Sonowal said the relationship between India and Russia has deep historical roots and is based on mutual respect and shared interests.
According to him, India is keen to collaborate on a partnership regarding the development of the Northern Sea Route that holds the potential for enhanced connectivity and trade.
"We discussed the development of maritime communications between our countries, as well as the prospects for using the Northern Sea Route... we intend to develop relations with Indian partners in the Far East in all areas of mutual interest," Chekunkov said.
Eastern Maritime Corridor is estimated to reduce the time required to transport cargo between Indian and Russian Ports of Far East Region by up to 16 days. The time taken will come down to 24 days compared to more than 40 days that it currently takes to transport goods from India to Far East Russia via Europe.
The current trade route between Mumbai in India and St Petersburg in Russia covers a distance of 8,675 nautical miles, and the time taken for transportation is around 35 to 40 days.
The Chennai-Vladivostok sea route will cover a distance of about 5,600 nautical miles.
A large container ship which travels at the normal cruising speed of 20-25 knots (37-46 kilometre/hour) will be able to cover this distance in approximately 10 to 12 days. This corridor holds immense potential to unlock new opportunities for trade and cooperation, the statement said.
Delegations from China, Laos, Mongolia and ASEAN countries are also participating in the forum meeting.
Sources said Russia has shown interest in India's presence at the Vladivostok port.
Russia is keen to accord further momentum to the Chennai-Vladivostok maritime corridor, which could give a huge boost to maritime ties.
Vladivostok is the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean and it is located about 50 kilometres from the China-Russia border.
The Eastern Economic Forum is a key international platform for establishing and strengthening ties within the Russian and global investment communities, and for comprehensive expert evaluation of the economic potential of the Russian Far East.
The forum was established by a decree of the Russian president in 2015 to support the economic development of Russia's Far East and to expand international cooperation in the Asia Pacific region.