India, Russia to widen maritime cooperation -statement

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India and Russia will explore the possibility of using new transport corridors such as the Northern Sea Route and Eastern Maritime Corridor between Vladivostok and Chennai to widen maritime cooperation, the Indian government said on Wednesday.

A decision to work towards this was made during a meeting between India's Ports, Shipping and Waterways minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, and Russia's Development of the Far East and Arctic minister, A.O. Chekunkov, in Russia's Vladivostok.

New Delhi and Moscow have enjoyed a close relationship for decades and India has refused to condemn Russia for the war it has waged on Ukraine since last year.

Russian-Indian trade has instead risen to a record high, driven largely by a ramping-up of Indian imports of Russian oil.

The two countries, at the same meeting on Wednesday, also agreed to train Indian seafarers in polar and arctic waters at the Russian Maritime Training Institute, which is equipped with simulator facilities.

"We remain committed to maintaining strong ties (with Russia) and fostering strategic cooperation across various sectors," Sonowal said in a statement.

Chekunkov said Russia aims to "develop relations with Indian partners in the Far East in all areas of mutual interest".

(Reporting by Sakshi Dayal; editing by Mark Heinrich)