• The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) was established in 2015 to encourage foreign investments in the RFE.
  • The EEF displays the economic potential, suitable business conditions and investment opportunities in the region.
  • Agreements signed at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) increased from 217 in 2017 to 380 agreements in 2021, worth 3.6 trillion roubles.
  • The agreements focus on infrastructure, transportation projects, mineral excavations, construction, industry and agriculture.
  • Key Players:
    • China, South Korea, Japan and India are the Key Players in the region, where China is the biggest investor.
      • China who sees potential in promoting the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Polar Sea Route in the Russia’s Far East (RFE).
      • China’s investments in the region account for 90% of the total investments.
      • The Trans-Siberian Railway has further helped Russia and China in advancing trade ties.
      • China is also looking to develop its Heilongjiang province which connects with the RFE.
    • South Korea has gradually invested in shipbuilding projects, manufacturing of electrical equipment, gas-liquefying plants, agricultural production and fisheries.
    • Japan identified eight areas of economic cooperation and pushed private businesses to invest in the development of the RFE.
      • Japan seeks to depend on Russian oil and gas resources after the 2011 meltdown in Fukushima.
      • However, the momentum  was lost due to the Kuril Islands dispute.
    • Through the EEF, India aims to establish a strong inter-state interaction with Russia, through agreements in the diamond and pharmaceuticals industry.


  • Russia has strategically developed the region with the aim of connecting Russia to the Asian trading routes.
  • With the fast modernisation of cities like Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Ulan-Ude, Chita and more, Russia aims to attract more investments in the region.
  • To survive the economic crisis and the sanctions with the help of China and other Asian powers.
Eastern Economic Forum
Significance of the Russia’s Far East (RFE)
  • The region encompasses one-third of Russia’s territory and is rich with natural resources such as fish, oil, natural gas, wood, diamonds and other minerals.
  • The small population living in the region is another factor for encouraging people to move and work in the Far East.
  • The region’s riches and resources contribute to 5 % of Russia’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
    • But despite the abundance and availability of materials, procuring and supplying them is an issue due to the unavailability of personnel.
  • The RFE is geographically placed at a strategic location, acting as a gateway into Asia.

What does India Seek at the Forum?

  • India seeks to expand its influence in the RFE. During the forum, India expressed its readiness in expanding trade, connectivity and investments in Russia.
  • India is keen to deepen its cooperation in energy, pharmaceuticals, maritime connectivity, healthcare, tourism, the diamond industry and the Arctic.
    • In 2019, India offered a USD 1 billion line of credit to develop infrastructure in the region.
  • Through the EEF, India aims to establish a strong inter-state interaction with Russia.
    • Business representatives of Gujarat and the Republic of Sakha (Russia) have launched agreements in the diamond and pharmaceuticals industry.

How does India act at Balancing Between the EEF and IPEF?

  • Since the coming together of countries like Myanmar, Armenia, Russia, and China for EEF seems like the forming of an Anti-Sanctions Group in the international order, India has vested interests in both the forums, EEF and IPEF (U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework).
  • India has not shied away from investing in the Russia-initiated EEF despite the current international conditions, where western countries impose Sanctions on Russia.
  • At the same time, India has given its confirmation and acceptance to three of the four pillars in the IPEF.
  • India understands the benefits of being involved in the development of the RFE but it also perceives the IPEF as a vital platform to strengthen its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The IPEF also presents an ideal opportunity for India to act in the region, without being part of the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or other regional groupings like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Eastern Economic Forum 2022

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