India will never forget Russia's friendship: PM

Moscow, Oct 21 (IANS) India will never forget that Russia stood by it during international challenges, when India's resources were limited and when it had few friends, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Monday.

"Russia has stood by India at moments of great international challenge, when our own resources were limited, and our friends were few. Beyond all the assistance that we have received, it is this last fact that Indians will never forget," the prime minister said while delivering a lecture at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

"And it is for these reasons that the people of India regard Russian friendship and support as something particularly precious," he said.

The prime minister said that over the past six decades, no country has had closer relations with India than Russia and no other country inspires more admiration, trust and confidence among the people of India.

The institute conferred an honorary doctorate on the prime minister.

Relations between India and Russia are built on abiding links of commerce and culture, which go back many centuries, said the prime minister.

He noted that India has benefited enormously from Russian support in every aspect of India's national development efforts - like development of heavy industry, power sector, space programme or defence.

At the beginning of the last decade of the last century, both the countries went through a difficult period of political and economic change, he said.

"While Russia showed great resilience and resolve in regaining its place in the world, India opened itself and became more deeply integrated with the world economy," said the prime minister.

Russia was the first country with which India signed a Declaration of Strategic Partnership in 2000, he said.

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