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Putin a valued friend of India: PM

Posted on Dec 24, 07:31PM | IBNS

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said Russian President Vladimir Putin is a valued friend of India.

Pertinently, Putin is on a one-day visit to India for the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit on Monday.

"It is my great pleasure to welcome His Excellency President Vladimir Putinto India for the 2012 India - Russia Annual Summit. President Putin is a valued friend of India and the original architect of the India-Russia strategic partnership. I conveyed to President Putin our deep appreciation for his long-standing and personal commitment to this partnership," Singh said at the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit here.

"This morning, we undertook an extensive review of our multi-faceted bilateral cooperation, especially in energy, defence, space, trade and investment, science and technology, education, culture and tourism. The documents signed during this visit will further strengthen the framework for our cooperation," he said.

Singh said the bilateral trade between India and Russia has grown by over 30 percent this year and both the nations would work to exploit areas, including pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, information technology, that have untapped potential.

"I congratulated President Putin on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization. Russia's deeper integration into the global economy will present more opportunities for the business communities in both countries. Our bilateral trade has grown by over 30pc this year," Singh said.

"There is still untapped potential in areas such as pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, mining, steel, information technology, civil aviation, telecommunications, infrastructure, food processing, innovation and services, which we will work to exploit. We have asked our inter-governmental and business level groups to recommend specific steps for enhancing bilateral trade and investment flows," the PM said.

Speaking on the nuclear energy programme between the two countries, Singh said: "The development of our nuclear energy programme has been a key pillar of our strategic partnership. Construction of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is now complete, and power generation will commence shortly.

"India appreciates deeply the support extended by Russian engineers and scientists in this project. We look forward to the completion of Unit 2 next year."

The PM said negotiations for the construction of Units 3 and 4 at Kudankulam have made good progress.

"We intend to continue implementing the Road map for cooperation in the nuclear energy sector that was signed during President Putin's visit in 2010 as the then Prime Minister of Russia," he said.

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

Singh said Russia is a key partner in India's efforts to modernize its armed forces and enhance defence preparedness.

"A number of joint design, developmentand production projects are underway in high technology areas. We expressed satisfaction that these projects are progressing well," Singh said.

Speaking on the cooperation in the field of science and technology, Singh said: "Our science and technology cooperation remains robust. President Putin and I welcomed the operationalization of the India-Russia Joint Science and Technology Centres in India and Russia, which can assist the development and commercialization of promising technologies, including in nano-technology, bio-medicine and super-computing."

"I particularly welcome the agreement on cooperation in using the GLONASS satellite navigation system that has just been signed," he said.

The PM said: "We also discussed regional and global issues, on many of which there is amarked congruence in our approach. Our consultations in international fora, such as the UN Security Council and BRICS, have deepened during the year.

"I congratulated President Putin on Russia's assumption of the Chair of G-20. We look forward to working closely with Russia in promoting reform of global economic and international structures of governance."

Singh said the year marked the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Russia and 'we deeply value Russia's steadfast friendship and support for India, unaffected by global developments'.

"This relationship has a special place in the hearts and minds of Indians and India remains committed to further deepening it," he said.