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PM statement at India-Russia Annual Summit

Posted on Dec 24, 07:20PM | IBNS

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement to the media at the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit:

Distinguished Representatives of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome His Excellency President Vladimir Putinto India for the 2012 India - Russia Annual Summit. President Putin is a valuedfriend of India and the original architect of the India-Russia strategic partnership. Iconveyed to President Putin our deep appreciation for his long-standing and personalcommitment to this partnership.

This morning, we undertook an extensive review of our multi-faceted bilateralcooperation, especially in energy, defence, space, trade and investment, science andtechnology, education, culture and tourism. The documents signed during this visitwill further strengthen the framework for our cooperation.

The development of our nuclear energy programme has been a key pillarof our strategic partnership. Construction of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam NuclearPower Project is now complete, and power generation will commence shortly. Indiaappreciates deeply the support extended by Russian engineers and scientists in thisproject. We look forward to the completion of Unit 2 next year.

Negotiations for the construction of Units 3 and 4 at Kudankulam have madegood progress. We intend to continue implementing the Roadmap for cooperation inthe nuclear energy sector that was signed during President Putin's visit in 2010 asthe then Prime Minister of Russia.

Our energy cooperation also extends to the oil and natural gas sectors. Iconveyed to President Putin India's interest in deepening cooperation in this area,including through mutual investments and joint projects in third countries.

Russia is a key partner in our efforts to modernize our armed forces andenhance our defence preparedness. A number of joint design, developmentand production projects are underway in high technology areas. We expressedsatisfaction that these projects are progressing well.

I congratulated President Putin on Russia's accession to the World TradeOrganization. Russia's deeper integration into the global economy will present moreopportunities for the business communities in both countries. Our bilateral tradehas grown by over 30pc this year. There is still untapped potential in areas suchas pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, mining, steel, information technology, civil aviation,telecommunications, infrastructure, food processing, innovation and services, whichwe will work to exploit. We have asked our inter-governmental and business levelgroups to recommend specific steps for enhancing bilateral trade and investmentflows.

Our science and technology cooperation remains robust. President Putinand I welcomed the operationalization of the India-Russia Joint Science andTechnology Centres in India and Russia, which can assist the development andcommercialization of promising technologies, including in nano-technology, bio-medicine and super-computing. I particularly welcome the agreement on cooperationin using the GLONASS satellite navigation system that has just been signed.

We also discussed regional and global issues, on many of which there is amarked congruence in our approach. Our consultations in international fora, such asthe UN Security Council and BRICS, have deepened during the year. I congratulatedPresident Putin on Russia's assumption of the Chair of G-20. We look forward toworking closely with Russia in promoting reform of global economic and internationalstructures of governance.

India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic andprosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism, terrorism and external interference.We reviewed the ongoing developments in Afghanistan, and agreed to work togetheragainst threats posed by extremist ideologies and drug trafficking. We also discussedthe situation in West Asia, and agreed to continue consultations.

This year marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of diplomaticrelations between India and Russia. We deeply value Russia's steadfast friendshipand support for India, unaffected by global developments. This relationship has aspecial place in the hearts and minds of Indians and India remains committed tofurther deepening it.

I once again extend a very warm welcome to President Putin and hisdelegation, and wish him and the people of Russia the very best for the New Year.

Thank you.