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Russia’s Far East: Moving from restricted region towards openness

Vladivostok (Russia), Sep 6 (IANS) Russia’s Far East, which President Vladimir Putin is ambitiously working to develop, used to be a restricted zone till the end of Cold War as it mostly had military facilities.

The territory between Baikal Lake in Eastern Siberia and the Pacifice Ocean, shares land borders with Mongolia, China and North Korea and maritime borders with Japan to its southeast and with the US to its northeast.

Comprising 11 districts, the region is rich in energy sources and has the largest reserve of mineral resources in Russia. It also has developed aircraft-building and ship-building clusters, besides a space facility.

“At the start of the 20th century and during the Cold War, the Far East territories mostly had military stations and were restricted. This affected the development here. But over the last few years, the situation has changed and there is openness in this region,” Putin said at the 5th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) here on Thursday.

“We have proposed unique business opportunities in the region,” he added in his address at the event, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed and Mongolian President Khaltmaagin Battulga.

He spelt out a number of incentives the government has offered to investors and others, including teachers, for overall development of the region.

“These are not just promises, but practical steps… Please use this opportunity,” the Russian President appealed to the foreign leaders and private investors.

He said since the hosting of the first EEF five years back, 620 billion Rubles have been invested in the region and there has been a 23 per cent economic growth, five per cent higher than the national growth.

Noting that the region has developed ship-building and space facilities, Putin said his country would work with India to step up cooperation in these areas.

He also spoke about how LNG supplies from the region to India could be reliable and beneficial. Fisheries was another sector he highlighted for cooperation with India.

–IANS

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