PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to start by welcoming to Moscow our guests and friends – Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh and the entire Indian delegation.
As has become the tradition, our meetings are friendly events where a spirit of mutual trust prevails. This was the third time the Prime Minister and I have met this year. Our meetings are not just exchanges of views on the current situation in the global economy and international affairs, but are intensive discussions on a wide range of subjects on which we share our opinions and, most importantly, move ahead. This was the case with this latest meeting too.
The joint declaration reflects the main results of our talks. We think the declaration fully reflects our approaches and makes the very important point that we are genuinely committed to doing all we can to strengthen our strategic partnership. We just signed some important intergovernmental and inter-ministerial agreements that will expand our cooperation.
The level of trust and partnership that we have built up between our countries is bearing practical fruit now in this period of economic crisis. Our bilateral trade increased by almost 7.5 percent over the first nine months of this year and already exceeds $5 billion.
But at the same time, we agree that there is still much potential in our relations to develop. Next year we plan to take our bilateral trade to a figure of $10 billion. I think that given our economies’ and our markets’ potential this is not the limit. I think we should step up contacts between our business communities, facilitate implementation of new business initiatives and business projects and set our sights on even higher figures, figures that really match the level of our partnership and that would be comparable to our trade with a number of our neighbours and other countries.
Our economic cooperation covers a broad range of strategic sectors: space, telecommunications, machine-building, the defence industry, finance, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and energy, including nuclear energy. We just initialled a very important agreement on nuclear energy cooperation for the coming years. We plan to continue developing our cooperation in this very promising field.
We also agreed to focus on making the Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Commission work more effectively and make full use of its potential. Consultations took place in India recently on this subject. We also step up the work of the Commission on Military Technical Cooperation.
Discussions on trade and economic matters will continue at the meetings the Prime Minister has scheduled for later today, including what I think is a very useful meeting with the council of CEOs of companies that brings together representatives of Russian and Indian big business. I think this is a useful meeting because these kinds of contacts help us to make progress in the most promising areas.
I think that over these last decades, and in earlier times too, a very important element in our relations – relations of friends and partners – has been not only economic ties but our contacts in the humanitarian sphere. The Prime Minister’s visit comes at the end of an eventful year that was the Year of India in the Russian Federation.
This was a very wide-ranging programme of events that offered unique opportunities to exchange cultural projects, encouraged economic and science and technology contacts, and helped to deepen ties between our two countries’ young people, which we think is the guarantee for friendship and understanding for the years ahead.
During our first meeting yesterday evening outside Moscow we discussed the international situation in detail. I can say that we have similar positions on the most important international issues. Of course, we are concerned about the biggest threats to global security. One of these threats is terrorism.
Our countries advocate swift adoption of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The Prime Minister and I discussed the situation in Afghanistan, the outcome of that country’s election, the need to strengthen its statehood and political institutions, and the spill-over effect that the events taking place in Afghanistan and Pakistan have on the situation in each of these countries. We discussed a number of other important and complex issues too, such as Iran and a number of others.
We paid a lot of attention to cooperation with groups in which we already have experience working together such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, as well as cooperation in the BRIC group and trilateral cooperation between Russia, China and India. We think these groups and formats are needed now more than ever in order to make our world more balanced and predictable, and enable us to better prepare for difficulties we could face in the future. No matter how hard we work through groups such as the G20, for example, no matter what the efforts we make to resolve today’s economic problems, no one can guarantee against future problems, and building a new financial security architecture for the world depends on how closely we cooperate now.
I would like to thank sincerely the Prime Minister for these open, meaningful and friendly talks. I am sure that they will help us to strengthen our mutually beneficial cooperation. Our strategic partnership will continue to develop and we will see it continue to bear fruit – at the end of this year, and next year too – and we therefore always welcome these kinds of contacts. Once again, I wish you, Mr Prime Minister, and the Indian delegation welcome to our country.
Thank you for your attention.