Moscow (ABC Live): Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on Day one of his official visit of Russia attended the 14th India-Russia Annual Summit.
Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s statement to the media after the 14th India-Russia Annual Summit today:
“I am very pleased to be back here in the historic and vibrant city of Moscow for the fourteenth bilateral Annual Summit.
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.
The depth, diversity and dynamism of our cooperation testifies to the fact that ours is truly a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. We also have a high degree of convergence on global developments and we collaborate constructively in international forums.
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.
We expressed satisfaction with the progress in our bilateral cooperation, including in defence, energy, high-technology trade, investment, space, science, education, culture and tourism. We noted that despite the fragile global economic environment, our bilateral trade grew by nearly 25% last year to reach 11 billion US dollars. 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.
The Kudankulam nuclear power project is an important symbol of our 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.
Our defence cooperation continues to be strong, and we expect that Russia will remain a key defence partner for India as we move into a stage of joint design, development, and production of key defence platforms.
We exchanged views on several major regional and global issues. India welcomes the joint Russia-US framework for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons and 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. 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.
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. We also emphasised our shared interest in a peaceful and stable transition in Afghanistan next year.
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.
Our people-to-people contacts remain strong. Between September and December 2013, ten Russian cities will host a festival of Indian culture. I believe that such activities will further cement the strong ties between our people.
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.”