Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is on an official visit to India on December 20-22, during which cooperation on trade, economic, energy and cultural issues will be discussed.
Dmitry Medvedev met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the first day of the visit, with a package of 30 bilateral documents signed following the talks.
The main issues on the agenda of the Russian-Indian talks were cooperation in the oil and gas sector, nuclear energy, and aircraft construction, as well as joint high-tech projects.
Speaking about trade and economic cooperation, the two leaders agreed to continue their efforts towards achieving the strategic target of bilateral trade volume of $20 billion by 2015.
Cooperation in the international arena was also discussed, including the settlement of the situation in Afghanistan and the joint fight against terrorism.
A package of 30 bilateral documents was signed following the Russian-Indian talks, among them a Memorandum of Understanding on Research and Technology Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, a fifth-generation fighter design contract, and an agreement on easing visa requirements for certain categories of citizens.
Following the talks, Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made press statements and answered questions from journalists.
Earlier in the day Dmitry Medvedev met with Indian Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna.
The Russian President also had bilateral meetings with President of India Pratibha Patil, Vice President of India Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj, and Indian National Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi.
The second day аs part of his official visit to India Dmitry Medvedev made a stop in Agra on his way from New Delhi to Mumbai to see the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world.
The President observed the mausoleum and mosque architectural ensemble and took some photos. Mr Medvedev wrote in the distinguished visitors’ book: “The Taj Mahal is a unique component of humanity’s legacy. Thank you to all who look after it.”
The President then went to Mumbai, where he met with students and teachers at the Indian Institute of Technology.
Answering the students’ questions, President Medvedev announced that Russia is ready to help India fight terrorism by providing arms and technology, and to regularly hold joint military exercises. The President also spoke in favour of expanding defence and security cooperation between Russia and India.
Mr Medvedev said that Russia considers India a worthy candidate for UN Security Council membership and confirmed that Russia will support India’s membership bid if the decision is made to expand the Security Council.
Regarding the issue of a missile defence system in Europe, the President said that if Russia and NATO do not make an optimum coordinated decision, politicians could find themselves facing some most difficult issues 5 to 7 years down the line. Unilateral missile defence development would force the other party into having to build up its nuclear strike capability.
On the situation in Iran, which was among the subjects raised at the meeting, Mr Medvedev said he hopes that the six-party talks produce a successful outcome that would enable Russia to resume full cooperation with Iran.
The Indian Institute of Technology was established in 1958 with Soviet financial and technical assistance and UNESCO’s support, and is one of the biggest R&D centres in India. It ranked in 47th place in the 2010 rating of research institutions in the machine-building and information technology fields.
The President then met with Russian and Indian filmmakers at one of the biggest Bollywood studios to discuss cooperation opportunities in cinema, and also watched an Indian film being shot.
The President saw one of the latest joint projects, the Hindu series, and learned about other cooperation projects with India, including a project to restore and rehabilitate old Russian films.
Meeting with Russian and Indian filmmakers, Mr Medvedev shared his recollections of his own acquaintance with Indian cinema, saying that India’s vivid and emotionally-infused films create a unique and unmistakeable form of cinema that is so popular not only in Russia but all around the world.
The Indian filmmakers raised the issue of access to the Russian market for Indian film companies. Ranbir Kapoor, son of famous Indian actor Raj Kapoor, called at the meeting for Russian filmmakers to be more active in their cooperation. Dmitry Medvedev agreed with the Indian filmmakers that the two countries do need new projects and opportunities in this sector.
The President also watched the shooting of an Indian film’s dance scene.