India has asked Russian firms to invest in the country’s maritime sector under the ‘Make in India’ program. India’s Minister of Water Resources Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday that Russian companies can help India in building marine vessels which New Delhi is currently buying or leasing from foreign firms.
“I invited Russian companies with manufacturing expertise in various kinds of marine vessels to invest in India under Make in India initiative to create a vibrant maritime sector in India,” Nitin Gadkari said after meeting Oleg Ryazantsev, deputy minister of commerce and trade of the Russian Federation, in New Delhi.
India, having 7,500 km of coastline and 20,000 km of waterways, has been assertively promoting waterways to efficiently transport people and goods. India is also exploring the possibility of utilizing alternative fuel in water transport for which it expects to seek Russian cooperation.
“We discussed exploring the use of biofuel in water transport in India in cooperation with Russia,” Gadkari added.
Minister Gadkari said that the massive push to water-based transport through infrastructure development programs like Sagarmala will open up opportunities for specialized vessels. Earlier this year, India’s state-owned Cochin Shipyard and the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) of Russia signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate and engage in design, development and execution of contemporary, state-of-the-art vessels for inland and coastal waterways.
India expects a massive demand for water transport modes — catamaran, hovercraft, etc. — in the near future. Earlier this year, India started exporting vehicles to Bangladesh via waterways, resulting in a considerable reduction of approximately $200 per vehicle.
The Indian government has launched a number of initiatives to boost water transport such as the Sagarmala project, port modernization and inland waterways and coastal shipping development.