Press conference by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following Russian-Indian talks. March 12, 2010

Friday, 12 March 2010 00:00
Manmohan Singh (as translated): Your Excellency Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, ladies and gentlemen, representatives of the media,

We are very pleased to have with us today His Excellency Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and a great friend of India. We attach tremendous importance to his visit.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin can be called the architect of the strategic partnership between India and Russia, and we are grateful to him for how he has brought our two countries together.

We have just finished substantive and detailed negotiations on bilateral global and regional issues.

As I told to Mr Putin, relations with Russia are the backbone of our foreign policy, and India regards Russia as a trustworthy and dependable strategic partner.

Our relations are not dependent on any other relations, and they grow in importance with every passing day. Our partnership extends to many different areas, including defence, civilian nuclear energy, space exploration, science and technology, oil, gas, trade and investment.

We have come to an agreement on several critical and long-awaited joint defence projects, both before and during Mr Putin's visit. These projects will deepen our long-standing partnership in this important area.

We have signed an intergovernmental agreement on nuclear energy cooperation and agreed on a roadmap for building a nuclear plant.

We have also signed a memorandum of understanding calling for bilateral partnership cooperation on Russia's satellite navigation system.

We have agreed to strengthen cooperation between our oil and gas companies.

And we have signed agreements regarding fertilizers and pharmaceuticals.

We see information and telecommunication technology as crucial for our economic cooperation in the future.

Prime Minister Putin's visit has been very fruitful. We have had substantive discussions on global and regional issues. We have many opportunities for further cooperation. We can work together for world peace and stability, and to help revive the global economy.

We have agreed to work more intensely and consult with each other on Afghanistan to address the challenge of terrorism and extremism in our region.

I am pleased to say that my negotiations with His Excellency Vladimir Putin have strengthened our already strong ties of friendship. Thank you.


Vladimir Putin: Distinguished Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, let me say that I have had an opportunity today to share opinions with many of our friends, particularly the President of India and Ms Sonia Gandhi. I was also able to take part in an interesting online discussion with community activists, researchers, educators and students in India's three largest cities.

We concluded with a detailed and substantive discussion with our old friend, Mr Manmohan Singh. I must say that truly a great deal has been accomplished in recent years to strengthen our relations, as was abundantly clear during today's discussion.

Everyone we have met with today, no matter their status or the topic of discussion, has displayed a very positive outlook on stronger Russian-Indian relations and great interest in new ways to strengthen bilateral ties.

This is my fifth visit to India, and with each visit I become more convinced that relations between our nations are unique. I do not think Mr Manmohan Singh and I would have attained the present level of mutual trust, understanding and cooperation without the compassionate, friendly relations between the Indian and Russian peoples.

We are always aware of the public support for our efforts in both countries. This solid foundation allows us to hold a political dialogue, successfully work together to address important global problems and implement major economic and cultural projects.

We also spoke about the necessity of closer trade and economic ties. They are moving in the right direction, but it is evident that they have not yet reached their full capabilities, and we understand that they have great potential.

That is why today we discussed strengthening our energy relations, and not only in oil and gas, though they were also on the agenda. At the initiative of Mr Manmohan Singh, we have agreed to prepare and sign a relevant intergovernmental agreement quite soon.

As you know, today we also signed a document for the development of our nuclear energy partnership. We are also working closely together in the field of mechanical engineering. The largest Russian companies manufacturing Ural and Kamaz lorries have started production in India.

We have agreed to continue working together in space exploration, including in both lunar research and by training two Indian astronauts, who are scheduled for launch in 2013. We have agreed to work together in the field of Global Positioning System, which is critical for our economic development, signing a relevant document today.

As previously agreed, we have confirmed our desire to increase our defence cooperation beyond the exchange of military hardware. Aircraft and armoured vehicle assembly is already underway, and there is our excellent joint endeavour, the BrahMos missile.

Today we also discussed further partnership in aviation -in particular, joint research for a fifth-generation aircraft. As you know, we Russians have thus far been carrying out this work independently. We have made considerable headway, and the fifth-generation aircraft are undergoing flight tests. We are confident that teamwork will bring spectacular results.

In this regard, I would like to emphasise that, out of consideration for the concerns of our Indian friends, Russia has no military partnership with Pakistan, unlike many countries. We hope that our joint efforts in the fight against terrorism will bear tangible results for to our two countries and the entire world community.

We also discussed cultural cooperation today. The Year of Russia in India and the Year of India in Russia were great successes. During the online talk with members of the public I mentioned at the beginning of this news conference, one person asked about the possibility of expanding student exchanges. I promised him that I would bring up the subject during my discussion with the Prime Minister.

I am pleased to report that the Prime Minister responded with animation, and offered the initiative his support. We asked our education ministers to address the matter and make government-level decisions as soon as possible regarding the mutual recognition of Indian degrees in Russia and Russian degrees in India.

In conclusion, I would like to thank our Indian friends once again for the warm reception we have enjoyed, and I express my hope that all our goals will be met.

Thank you.
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