Russia’s ties with IORA Member States have long history. The USSR in its fight against colonialism, segregation and discrimination played an important role in gaining statehood by many countries of the region, said the Head of the Russian Delegation at the IORA COM General Debate.
He also thanked the Bangladeshi partners for hospitality and excellent organization of this meeting, and congratulated all concerned on the IORA 25th anniversary.
“We will continue contributing to the sustainable development of the region both bilaterally and through the World Food Program (WFP), UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and other channels. We are implementing a wide range of humanitarian projects, such as school feeding programs in Mozambique, equipping educational laboratories in Tanzania, introducing new disinfection technologies and equipment in Madagascar,” he said.
“Even under artificial restrictions imposed on Russia, we are looking for opportunities to support the countries of the region in terms of energy and food security (Russia is one of the world’s top three oil exporters, it ranks first in natural gas reserves and second in gas production, and this year’s grain harvest could reach a record high of 150 million tons, including about 100 million tons of wheat),” he stated.
Russia and IORA member states not only share civilizational values, but also pursue quite pragmatic interests, the Head of the Russian Delegation at the IORA COM General Debate said.
“We witness steady growth of the trade turnover: it increased totally by 50% for all IORA Members States last year, and by more than 40% in the first half of this year. We are also implementing joint investment projects. The launch of a plant producing non-carcinogenic (“green”) technological oils for tires, synthetic rubbers and rubber compounds in Malaysia with the capacity of up to 100 thousand tons is one recent example,” he added.
Russian companies participate in major regional energy enterprises: primarily through construction of Rooppur, Kudankulam and Bushehr Nuclear Power Plants in Bangladesh, India and Iran respectively, he said, adding that use of nuclear technologies for medical purposes is another promising area. A cyclotron radiochemical center for producing isotopes used in disease diagnosis and therapy is under construction in Thailand.
The Head of Russian Delegation at IORA COM General Debate further said “As an IORA dialogue partner, Russia pays special attention to environmental protection of the Indian Ocean zone. Our government officials and experts participate in the IORA Working Group on Blue Economy. The Russian Ministry of Economic Development proposed a research on the existing international mechanisms in the field of sustainable use of ocean resources, with further specific recommendations for the Association Members.”
Russian agencies and research institutes join IORA events in other areas of cooperation contributing to the achievement of specific targets under the UN SDGs and IORA Action Plan for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Environment, he mentioned.
Maritime security and combatting piracy is an important area of common interests. Joint exercises with Indian, Chinese and Iranian partners, activities within the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia are aimed at addressing these challenges.
He said international “North-South” transport corridor designed to connect Russia’s North-West with the Indian Ocean is particularly relevant. 7200 km of railways, highways and sea routes will stretch from St. Petersburg through Iran to the port of Mumbai in India. Vladivostok-Chennai Maritime Corridor can become another contributor to IORA transport and logistics initiatives, enhancing connections between the countries of the Indian Ocean and the Russian Far East.
"We see the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union as natural like-minded partners for the Association. The SCO summit in Samarkand last September showed great potential for combining our efforts."
From 2018, Russia has been actively proposing to consider establishing contacts between IORA and multilateral ASEAN-led formats, including by inviting the IORA Secretary-General to the East Asian Summits, he continued.
"We believe that links between such formats with a positive agenda would contribute to a comfortable political and economic environment on the continent and would pave the way to a unified space for the benefit of all participating countries," the Russian Delegation at the IORA COM General Debate noted.