Cochin Shipyard has inked a pact with Russian firm United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) to boost water transportation in India, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Calling on Russian investors to tap the vast opportunities in India's infrastructure space, Gadkari said India has huge potential and appetite for innovation in the field.
The water resources minister was addressing the India-Russia Business Summit.
As per the MoU between the two entities, USC will engage in development of the state-of-the-art vessels for inland and coastal waterways in the country.
"State-owned CSL..is now planning to make a joint venture with Russian company USC ...it has already been formalised. At the same time we are planning a tie up in river transport like catamarans, seaplane technology and other areas," he said.
The government is in talks with other Russian firms in the area of water transport as the country has 20,000 km of river length and 7,500 km of seafront.
CSL and USC aim to develop high-speed vessels, river-sea cargo vessels, passenger vessels, dredgers, and other watercraft for inland waterways and coastal shipping in India.
The MoU will push government's Make in India programme, as also its plans to develop eco-friendly and economic transportation under Sagarmala, a port-led development project.
Gadkari said there is a huge potential in inland waterways, cruise tourism and RO-RO transportation in the country and the collaboration would certainly bring in the much needed products as well as market innovation while harnessing newer technologies.
USC, a Joint Stock company, is the largest shipbuilding holding in Russia incorporating about 40 enterprises including shipyards, with more than 300 years of experience.
"The Rs 5,500 crore project on Ganga with the help of the World Bank will be completed soon ...There are huge opportunities for catamarans, hovercrafts and seaplanes," he said.
Gadkari said talks were also on with Russia for using satellite for tolling. Russia is also welcome to invest in road projects with good internal rates of return.
"With Russia we have good relationship for last many years and Russian companies interested are welcome to invest in the infrastructure space," the minister said.
Last week, the government approved a pact between India and Russia for mutual cooperation in the road transport and highways sector.