In the midst of a ravaging war, Ukraine and adversary Russia will be sending high-level delegations to the Vibrant Gujarat summit this week. Both nations will be scouting for business and defence collaborations at the 10th edition of the event which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 10.

While Ukraine will be hosting a “country seminar” as part of the Vibrant Gujarat summit on January 10, Russia too will hold its country seminar on January 11. “Senior government officials are mindful of the tensions between the two countries and arrangements have been made accordingly. There is no need to be concerned,” a senior Gujarat government official told businessline on Monday.

The officials from both nations have not only been allocated different days for hosting their respective “country seminars” — highlighting the strengths of their respective countries — but the officials have also been provided accommodation in separate venues, sources added.

‘Country seminars’

The First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yuliia Svyrydenko is slated to deliver a special address at the country seminar titled, “Ukraine - India : Investment Opportunities for a Better Future”. Svyrydenko is also the minister of Economy of Ukraine. The Deputy Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, Anatolii Komirnyi, will make a presentation on “Reconstruction and Rebuilding of Ukraine: Opportunities for Indian Businesses”, while the special envoy of the Ukraine government, Volodymyr Kuzyo will make a presentation on “reciprocal investment opportunities.” The Ambassador of Ukraine to India, Dr Oleskandr Polishchuk will also remain present at the seminar.

“The Government of Ukraine invites Indian businesses to take part in the implementation of a large-scale Recovery Plan for reconstruction and rebuilding of Ukraine. We will be delighted to see the Indian public and private sector among active participants in its implementation. The seminar will also be focused on discovering opportunities for establishing joint Ukrainian-Indian ventures and reciprocal investments in different sectors, in particular in the Aerospace and Defence sphere. There are great opportunities for MSMEs of Gujarat for mutually beneficial cooperation,” states the brief for the Ukraine seminar.

On January 11, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation, Denis Alipov and Deputy Minister for Development of the Russian Far East and Artic, Anatoly Bobrakov are scheduled to deliver special addresses at the seminar titled “Russia Far East and Artic - exploring new perspectives and opportunities for Russia-India bilateral cooperation”.

The session organised by Russia will focus on Russia-India collaboration for prospective key projects of the Russian Far East and Arctic. It will also feature a presentation on the economic potential for the Primorye and Arkhangelsk regions of Russia. Deputy Chairman of the Primorye Region government, Nikolay Stetsko and Deputy Chair of the Arkhangelsk Region government Viktor Ikonnikov will make the presentations.

Partner countries

Ukraine and Russia are among the 36 “partner countries” for the Vibrant Gujarat summit which is being held for the first time after COVID-19 pandemic. Both Canada and the USA, who have been partner countries for the summit in the past, do not figure on the list of partner countries for the event this year. Though business organisations representing the two nations are organising events at the summit, no “country seminars” have been planned yet.

Canada has been a partner country for the event since the 5th edition held in 2011. Thereafter it continued to partner in five more editions with the last being in 2019 when the 9th edition of the summit was held. USA partnered with the summit in the 2015 and 2019 editions. When asked if Canada has opted out from being a partner country due to the diplomatic stand-off on the issue of terrorism, the state government official said, “It is not for me to comment on the issue. It is the Union Ministry of External Affairs that has been taking a final call on the nations to be invited.”

Growing partnerships

The first country to partner with the summit was Japan (in 2009). In the last edition of the event held in 2019, 15 countries including Canada had participated. Both the UK and US had opted out.

This year, Australia, Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Singapore, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, UK, Uruguay, Ghana and Vietnam are among 36 “partner countries” for the event.  Since mid-October 2023, Gujarat has been hosting international road shows to promote the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat summit. It has held such Vibrant Gujarat pre-summit events in Japan, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Australia, Singapore, USA (New Jersey), France, UAE, Vietnam, and South Korea. 

Ahead of the formal inauguration of the Vibrant Gujarat summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show 2024 on Tuesday. About 1000-odd exhibitors will showcase various exhibits at the show which is being held at the helipad grounds adjacent to the Mahatma Mandir, the venue for the Vibrant summit.