Enduring value of strategic India-Russia ties important factor for global peace: PM

Moscow, Oct. 21 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Monday complimented President of the Russia Vladimir V. Putin for his inputs in the 14th India-Russia Annual Summit, and said that the enduring value of the strategic relationship between the countries is an important factor for global peace and stability.

"At the outset, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to President Putin for his contribution in giving new direction and content to India-Russia relations as also for starting this very useful practice of Annual Summits between our two countries," Dr. Singh said.

"Our discussions today were characterised by the warmth, goodwill and trust that permeate all aspects of our partnership. President Putin and I agreed that our strategic partnership remains a matter of the highest priority for our two nations, based on our shared belief in the enduring value of this relationship, both for our mutual benefit and as a factor for global peace and stability," he added.

The Prime Minister said that the depth, diversity and dynamism of India-Russia cooperation testifies to the fact that it is truly a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.

While congratulating President Putin on the successful conduct of the St. Petersburg G-20 Summit, Dr. Singh said that India will work closely with Russia at various multilateral platforms.

"I congratulated President Putin on the successful conduct of the St. Petersburg G-20 Summit. Our two countries will continue to work closely together at various multilateral platforms, including the BRICS, the G-20, the East Asia Summit, and the United Nations," Dr. Singh said.

The Prime Minister also noted that the people-to-people contacts remain strong between the two countries and said that between September and December 2013, 10 Russian cities would host a festival of Indian culture. "I believe that such activities will further cement the strong ties between our people," he added.

Remaining optimistic about the future of the India-Russia relationship, Dr. Singh said: "The extraordinary history of our relationship and the warmth and goodwill between our peoples gives me great confidence that we will successfully exploit our growing convergence of interests and expanding opportunities for cooperation and take our strategic partnership to even greater heights. I thank President Putin for a very successful Summit."

Dr. Singh said that India and Russia were on the same page regarding their firm intent to conquer terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking, and added that the two countries have agreed to deepen their coordination and cooperation for promoting security.

"India and Russia share similar perspectives on developments in our extended neighbourhood. Terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking emanating from this area endanger security and stability in our region and beyond. We have agreed to intensify our coordination and cooperation for promoting security and development in the region," he said.

"We also emphasised our shared interest in a peaceful and stable transition in Afghanistan next year," he added.

Commenting on the nature of talks with President Putin, Dr. Singh said that India expressed satisfaction with the progress in the bilateral cooperation in defence, energy, high-technology trade, investment, space, science, education, culture and tourism.

Dr. Singh said that both leaders noted that despite the fragile global economic environment, the India-Russia bilateral trade grew by nearly 25 percent last year to reach 11 billion US dollars.

Commenting on the future of economic ties, Dr. Singh said: "We resolved to promote investments and facilitate closer cooperation in a number of areas with great potential, such as oil and gas, energy, information technology, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, fertilizers, and mining. I also sought President Putin's support for the launch of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus."

At the top-level talks, the two leaders also discussed the Kudankulam nuclear power project and agreed that it was an important symbol of the strategic partnership.

"We look forward to commercial power production from Unit 1 very shortly, and the completion of work on Unit 2 next year. I conveyed to President Putin our commitment to fully implement the road map on civil nuclear cooperation that was signed during his visit to India in 2010. We have directed our officials to resolve all outstanding issues at the earliest," Dr. Singh said.

Dr. Singh also said that the defence cooperation between the two countries continues to be strong, and that India expects that Russia will remain a key defence partner for them as the country moves into a stage of joint design, development, and production of key defence platforms.

On his discussion with President Putin on several major regional and global issues, Dr. Singh said that India welcomed the joint Russia-US framework for the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons. He also said that the Iranian nuclear issue was discussed at the top-level talks.

"I thanked President Putin for his personal efforts towards securing a peaceful political settlement to the Syrian conflict. India has a direct interest in peace and stability in the entire West Asian region," he said.

"We also agreed on the need for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and expressed hope for progress in the ongoing discussions with Iran," he added.

Meanwhile, India and Russia signed five documents during the Prime Minister's visit to Moscow.

India and Russia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Bureau of Energy Efficiency of India and Federal State Budget Organisation "Russian Energy Agency" of the Ministry of Energy of the Russia in the field of energy efficiency.

The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Standardization and Conformity Assessment between Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Federal Agency on Technical Regulation and Metrology (GOST-R).

A Treaty between the India and the Russian Federation on Transfer of Sentenced Persons was also signed.

The two countries agreed to a Programme of Cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation between the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and the Ministry of Education and Science, Government of Russian Federation for the period 2014-2017.

A Programme of Cooperation in the area of biotechnology between the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and the Ministry of Education and Science, Government of Russia for the period 2014-2017 was also signed. (ANI)

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