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Aiming to put in place a key maritime route connecting India with Northeast Asia and Western Pacific region Delhi is contemplating to put in place a major connectivity initiative — direct shipping link between Chennai and Vladivostok amid China’s ambitious Maritime Silk Route (MSR) connecting Asia with Africa. 

With India making concrete moves to expand its presence in Far East Russia to harness natural resources as evident through Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Vladivostok last week plans are in making for a maritime link connecting Chennai with the key Russian port on the Pacific.

This shipping link would enable to transfer cargo between Chennai and Vladivostok in 24 days in comparison to over 40 days currently taken to transport goods from India to Far East Russia via Europe, according to experts on the subject. 

This proposed maritime route which could be transformed into a corridor could juxtapose with Indo-Japan Pacific to Indian Ocean Corridor amid Beijing’s OBOR of which MSR is a part – virtually connecting entire SE Asia through road, shipping and rail links. 

Swaraj met top Russian Ministers from Putin’s cabinet – Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Industry Minister Denis Manturov, Natural resources Minister Sergei Donskoi and Deputy PM & President’s envoy for Far East Yury Trutnev besides governors of provinces in the region to further India’s role amid Moscow’s aim to diversify options besides China.

South Korean President and Japanese PM were present at the Far East Forum that saw senior level representation (Swaraj) from India for the first time. Few months back Russia announced visa-free entry for Indians in its Far East. 

On the occasion Swaraj also launched Russia Desk for facilitating Russian investments into India as assured by PM Narendra Modi during the annual summit in St Petersburg in June. This is the 3rd such Desk in India after Japan and Korea. Russia Desk would provide complete support service for any kind of Russian investment/ Businessmen/ from legislative to taxation; from personnel to finding right partner, according to informed officials.