Russian Dy. PM Meets Indian G&J Industry

Mumbai: A high powered Russian delegation led by Yuri Trutnev, Hon’ble Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and Presidential Envoy to the Russian Far East discussed closer collaboration between the gem and jewellery industries of the two countries with representatives of the GJEPC and BDB during a visit to the Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai yesterday.

The delegation comprised a number of senior officials including governors and ministers from various parts of the Far Eastern region of Russia.

GJEPC Chair Praveenshankar Pandya and BDB President Anoop Mehta put forward some concrete proposals to the Dy PM and other leaders regarding possible areas of cooperation. They suggested that the removal of high import duty on cut and polished diamonds entering Russia would help the growth of the jewellery manufacturing export industry there. Pandya pointed out that Russian jewellery had a superior finish compared to many other European nations, but lagged behind the others because of the cost factor on account of the import duties on diamonds which are a key raw material. He even suggested that the two countries could look at an arrangement under which diamonds mined in Russia, and then cut and polished in India could then be rexported to Russia to feed the jewellery manufacturing industry there.

The second proposal was related to the setting up of a 50:50 joint venture between Russian miner Alrosa and the Indian industry to carry out diamond exploration and mining in India. Specifically, Mehta pointed out that a JV could immediately consider reviving the Bunder project in MP, which is known to have proven diamond reserves of over 30 million carats given Russia’s expertise and experience in diamond mining. Rio Tinto, which had initially developed the project, had withdrawn from it earlier this year.

On his part, Mr Trutnev suggested that the Indian industry could look at setting up some cutting and polishing units in the Far East and train Russian workers in the art of cutting and polishing.

The delegation responded favourably to the proposals and Mr Trutnev has invited an Indian delegation to visit Russia next month for further discussions.