India, Russia may create investment center to develop Crimea's Sevastopol

India and Russia may create a joint investment center in Crimea for Russia to tap into India's experience of developing Mumbai's ports, the chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee said Tuesday.

"Mumbai and Sevastopol have a lot in common, the Indian Navy's Western Naval Command is headquartered in Mumbai, which is a large port and naval base, but apart from [Sevastopol's] important naval role, it is also a significant logistical port complex and has a high resort potential," Adm. Vladimir Komoedov told the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

Komoedov added that Crimea should complete its port and logistical infrastructure by the time the Kerch bridge, which is set to link mainland Russia with the Crimean peninsula and is currently under construction, is built by 2019.

The Russian Federal Road Agency (Rosavtodor) authorized the construction of the 19-kilometer (11.8 miles) bridge in February. It was previously expected to open in December 2018 and will become the longest bridge in Russia.

Crimea rejoined Russia after a 2014 referendum in which over 96 percent of the Crimean population voted in favor of reunification. Sevastopol, which has a federal city status, supported the move by 95.6 percent of the votes.

Sevastopol, the Russian federal city within the Crimean Federal District, hosts the main naval base of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia. The base is strategically important for the country's naval fleet, in addition to being Russia's only warm water base.

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