Russia Current Affairs

Russia launches first rocket from new Vostochny Cosmodrome

Russia has successfully launched the first rocket from its newly built Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur Oblast, in Russian Far East region bordering China.

The unmanned Soyuz-2.1a rocket is carrying three satellites as payloads namely Mikhailo Lomonosov (scientific satellite), SamSat-218 (an experimental nanosatellite) and Aist-2D (a civilian distance viewing satellite).

Vostochny Cosmodrome is a Russian spaceport for civilian launches under construction after it was launched in 2012. On completion in 2018, it will reduce Russia’s dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Presently, Russia has the large military launch facilities but it relies primarily on the Baikonur Cosmodrome for the civilian launches.

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RIC Forum pitches to deepen cooperation in combating terrorism

The 14th meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russia, India and China (RIC) Forum have vowed to deepen cooperation in combating terrorism.

The meeting was held in Moscow, Russia and was attended Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Union Minister of Foreign Affairs Sushma Swaraj, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi took.

Key highlights of 2016 RIC Forum

  • The Ministers discussed various aspects of trilateral cooperation on global and regional issues.
  • They pitched for progress in strengthening the international legal framework underlying the modern world order and neutralisation of common challenges.
  • They also have pitched for setting up of a broad counter-terrorist front with the UN playing a central role and stepping up efforts to combat global drug threat.
  • They also discussed on creating a new security and cooperation architecture in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • They also exchanged views to the situation in the North Africa, Middle East including Syria, and the situation in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

The Ministers have also decided to hold the next trilateral meeting in India.

RIC Forum: It is a trilateral grouping of Russia, India and China that has met annually since 2002. In recent years, the RIC has functioned as a complement to other frameworks involving three countries and including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

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Russia approves OVL’s deal to acquire 15% stake in Vankor oilfield

The Russian Government has approved a deal of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) to acquire 15% stake in Vankor oilfield from Rosneft.

The deal was signed between the OVL and Rosneft in September 2015 and is worth 1.3 billion US dollars. Vankor is Russia’s second biggest oil field with capacity of total 2.5 billion recoverable reserves barrels (or 500 million tonnes).

As per the deal

  • OVL’s stake in Vankor will raise to 26% from 15% and will give it about 3.5 million metric tonnes of oil a year
  • Consequently, Rosneft will retain the remaining 50.1 per cent and also retain full control of infrastructure of the Vankor cluster.

This deal is in addition to another deal that was signed in March 2016 between the OVL and three other oil companies. Both of these deals will help India to secure access to lucrative Russia’s oil market, while Rosneft in turn will through OVL gain access to the Indian market.

Vankor oilfield was discovered in 1988 and is main source supplier to the East Siberia Pacific Ocean (ESPO) Pipeline that is key contributor to the energy needs of China.

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