Panaji : Economic partnership between Russia and Goa received a boost on Thursday, as Russian ambassador to India Nikolai Kudashev met Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for exploring commercial ties.
The meeting focused on strengthening business relations in tourism and manufacturing, specifically in aerospace, defence, IT and pharmaceutical sectors.
The ambassador discussed the possibility of Russians setting up business establishments in the state through joint ventures.
The Chief Minister explored the possibilities of Russian participation in helicopter related projects, as a helicopter maintenance unit is coming up in the state.
Kudashev during the meeting also took up safety of Russians in Goa, to which Sawant suggested that Russian tourists must not misbehave, drink or commit crime. Sawant urged the ambassador and visiting officials to project Goa as a family tourist destination and not as a place for drug business or other undesirable activities.
Russia is the country of focus for IFFI-2019, and Kudashev arrived as a special guest prior to film screening.
Both the governments are planning for closer relations between Russian and Goan artistes in the field of art and culture.
The meeting took place in the presence of Varun Albuquerque, who represented industrialists, honorary consul of Russia in Goa Victor Albuquerque and officials of the Russian consulate.
Russian presence in the state is currently seen in the tourism sector, where footfall from that country is highest among all foreign visitors.
This is the first official visit of the ambassador for discussing trade relations with Goa.
The state is looking at an increase in Russian visitors during the ongoing tourism season of 2019-20 compared to the previous season when only 292 chartered flights arrived.
In the ongoing season, about two chartered flights from Russia are landing everyday from the start of the season in October 2019 to the end of the season in April 2020.
“From Russia with Love, I Fly to You”, the title track from the 1963 James Bond caper, ‘From Russia with Love’ could soon become a reality for Goa, as there could be a direct flight from Moscow to Dabolim in the near future.
At the inauguration of Russian Pavilion at the International Film Festival of India complex, Kudashev stated that there are plans to have a Moscow-Mumbai air connect very soon, even as its New Delhi-Moscow route continues to see high demand.
“We would also welcome increase in the number of Russian tourists coming to Goa, and vice versa,” he added, pointing out, “There are multiple chartered flights flying from Russia to Goa, and if the public feels that the volume of tourists is adequate for a direct flight from Moscow to Goa, and raises the issue with us, then under special privileged strategic partnership, the same could be introduced, as the work towards selecting new air destinations for Russia is in process.”The Russian ambassador said that soon not only the European part of Russia, but also the Pacific shores of Russia will be available for Indians, and they will be able to fly to these parts.
Russia is the ‘Country of Focus’ at the IFFI 2019 and seven latest Russian films would be screened under this session at the ongoing film festival.
Kudashev said that Russia earlier this year launched a 40 per cent cash rebate for foreign film productions, and therefore Indo-Russian film co-productions could be taken up to receive benefit under the scheme.
He also supported translating at regular intervals, 10 contemporary literary works from Hindi to Russian language and vice versa, if any university is ready to take up such a project.
Interestingly, the Russian actors present at the inauguration of the Russian pavilion pointed out that Raj Kapoor is still a favourite actor in Russia, and songs from the 1982 film , ‘Disco Dancer’ including “Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja” are popular in their country.