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Want major diamond mining firms to sell directly to India : Modi

New Delhi, Dec 11 Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said he wants major diamond mining companies to sell directly to the Indian diamond industry, which will be beneficial for both parties, and he has made three proposals in this regard to visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I want major diamond mining companies to sell directly to the Indian diamond industry. it will be good for them and for India,” Modi said while addressing the World Diamond Conference.

The conference was organised by Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, India’s ministry of commerce and industry; and the World Diamond Mark here.

“I have made three proposals to President Putin. First, I would like (Russian state-run mining company) Alrosa to have direct long term contracts with more Indian companies. I am pleased to know that they are moving in that direction.

“Second, I want Alrosa and others to trade directly on our bourse. We have decided to create a Special Notified Zone, in which major mining companies can import rough diamonds on a consignment basis and re-export unsold ones,” Modi said, adding this would benefit Indian diamond industry and create more jobs for the youth.

He also mentioned that while most rough diamonds from Russia come to India, less than 20 percent come directly and are mostly routed through places like Antwerp and Dubai.

Earlier in the day, in a bid to create alternative import sources of rough diamonds for the Indian cutting and polishing industry, Russia’s Alrosa mining group has entered into direct selling agreements with 12 diamantaires for supplies worth $2.1 billion over three years.

“Third, I asked President Putin to reform regulations so that Russian jewellery makers can send their rough diamonds to India and re-import polished diamond without paying duty. This will give a boost to our diamond industry. These measures will also boost India-Russia economic ties,” Modi added.

He elaborated that India and Russia have outstanding cooperation in a broad range of areas. “We want to focus on transforming our economic relations. We want to make this a key pillar of our relationship.”

Mentioning that India is the world’s largest centre for cutting and polishing diamonds and the largest importer of uncut diamonds, Modi said the diamond has become a universal symbol of wealth and enduring love but in India is “also a great source of jobs for our people”.

“The gem and jewellery sector in India employs nearly 3.5 million people; 1 million of them work in the diamond industry. Few in India would be aware that out of ten polished diamond pieces sold globally, nine have been processed in India. The diamonds sparkle in the world because of the skills of Indian workers,” he said.

Surat in Gujarat has emerged as the biggest centre in the world for cutting and polishing diamond.