Supported by Mahindra Adventures – the off-road activities division of the Mahindra Group – the India-Russia Friendship Rally was recently concluded in Russia. The expedition, a joint effort by Indian and the Russian governments, commemorated the 70th year of Indian independence and 70 years of the India-Russia diplomatic relationship.
A group of travel enthusiasts from India and Russia set off in 18 Mahindra vehicles – 14 Scorpios, two XUV 500s, one Getaway and one Thar – from Bhilai on February 19 to crisscross four countries before reaching Russia in May. Organised by Kalinga Motorsports, the event was supported by the governments of the four nations involved.
The group navigated through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), also showcasing the establishments that have flourished in India with Russian collaboration. The rally was conducted in three legs. The pioneering expedition successfully promoted connectivity between India and Russia, with an aim to boost trade and investments as well as civilian travel. The focus remained on strengthening the existing friendship, cooperation in cultural spheres, tourism, science and research.
The India leg of the rally culminated in Delhi on March 14 from where the Ambassador of Russia flagged off the second part. The 18 Mahindra vehicles were then shipped from Kandla port to Bandar Abbas in Iran. From here, the participants drove towards the north of Iran, crossing the historically important cities of Shiraz, Persepolis, Isfahan and Tehran.
From Iran, the group entered Azerbaijan and the city of Baku. While driving into Russia, the group crossed Astrakhan, Volgograd, Moscow and finally St Petersburg to end the second leg of the rally. Another set of participants traced back the route to Bandar Abbas to finally end the entire expedition on June 2, covering all of 19,989 kilometres.