Russia and India are looking at expanding the use of the Northern Sea Shipping route that passes through the Artic and which could include the building of processing facilities, Russia’s Interfax agency reported on March 29.
According to Reuters, Alexei Chekunkov, Russia’s minister for the development of the Far East and the Arctic, is visiting India and a key issue in his talks with Indian officials was the “reliable and safe” transportation of goods through the Northern Sea Route using Russian and Indian ports.
India, which has not explicitly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, emerged as the largest buyer of Russian oil after China last year.
The Northern Sea Route runs along Russia’s northern coastline and is the shortest shipping route between East Asia and Europe, offering substantial cost savings. Russia wants the route to become a major shipping lane and has invested heavily in infrastructure there.
It is not currently used in winter due to thick ice. But spurred on by the warming of the Arctic, Moscow plans to begin year-round shipping by end of 2023.