PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Mr Minister, Mr Vice-Chancellor, Mr Rector, members of the academic council, colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for receiving an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Your university is very highly regarded throughout the world as a major educational, science and research centre. It is certainly an enormous privilege to be awarded the honoris causa. Thank you very much.
Very soon, in April, we will be marking an important anniversary for our nations: 65 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our states. Indian prime minister and national leader Jawaharlal Nehru played an exceptionally important historic role in the establishment of those relations. Without a doubt, he was a person of global influence, if for no other reason than because he did not seek short-term unilateral gains, but strived only to make India’s development long-lasting, standing on a solid foundation.
His political outlook was based on unwavering values such as equality, justice and non-violence. Jawaharlal Nehru had enough courage and political will to consistently maintain these values in a fairly difficult period for international relations, during the so-called Cold War. Mr Nehru is precisely the kind of person who usually changes our world for the better. It is certain that today’s leaders, the leaders of all countries, can draw from Jawaharlal Nehru’s political legacy.
As for relations between our two countries, Russia and India, they have always been an example of good neighbourly relations and open international partnership, an example of absolutely friendly relations aimed at supporting not just bilateral but also international harmony. It is important that today, we also maintain the legacy accumulated so many years ago, even if the nation that existed then in the Russian Federation’s place is no more. But today, of course, we have Russia and we certainly remember everything and continue to take pride in the many years of our good relationship.
Today, we are further developing our partnership in a variety of areas. Both Russia and India are among the so-called fast-growing markets and leaders in economic growth. We are relying on similar approaches to resolve a range of challenges in economics, as well as solving complex, sometimes crisis situations occurring at a regional and occasionally global level.
This is also vividly demonstrated by our cooperation within the BRICS forum, which is being held in India this year. It is a relatively young alliance, but upon accepting a fifth participant, the Republic of South Africa, it has truly become a global alliance, because it brings together very large states and a significant volume of gross world product.
What does this mean? It means that if we coordinate positions on various difficult issues during times of international economic crisis, or in other crisis situations that I mentioned, then we can act in a consolidated manner. Our voice is heard. This is very important, because the world is multipolar. It does not centre around one state, even a very powerful one, or two states, or a competition between two systems, as was the case before. The world is diverse, and we are its participants. It is very good that we are moving forward arm in arm with India.
Due to the similarity in our positions in foreign policy, we are truly cooperating quite productively on issues of regional and global security. This topic is absolutely vital for our nations. Our countries’ strength is being tested, and you know what I am referring to. We must do everything so that our common approaches to security aspects are converted into a common protection. After all, nowadays, it is impossible to guarantee security in any separate region. It doesn’t work that way since evil spreads, and fast. Thus, our security must be common, consolidated, shared and, of course, effective.
It is impossible to guarantee one’s security to the detriment of others. And incidentally, we were just speaking about this during the Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea.
We greatly value India not just as our proven friend and partner, a brotherly nation with which we share kind, heartfelt relations, but also as a reliable partner in international affairs.
Whenever I speak at a university, I am filled with a particular excitement because, as my respected colleagues just mentioned, I spent a long time working at a university; I taught at a university for quite a long time, presented my dissertation there, and combined research with political practice. I believe it was an invaluable experience. But now I want to talk about something a little different.
During the first half of this day, I had the chance to walk around New Delhi for about an hour, to see the monuments of your ancient capital and feel the rhythm of today’s city, today’s life. It is very warm here. And for people who come from Russia, perhaps this is another form of evidence of the kind intentions and open hearts of all citizens of the enormous nation of India.
We are different countries, and at the same time, we are very close. The challenges standing before us are nearly identical: making people’s lives more dignified, creating a modern economy, resolving security issues. Further advancement in these areas will depend on our nations’ research and education centres. After all, it is the universities and research laboratories that combine centuries-old experience with the newest achievements and lay the foundations for breakthroughs to the future.
We are currently pursuing several important programmes, including a so-called integrated cooperation programme in science, technology and innovation between Russia and India. We are implementing 120 projects with participation by 70 Russian and over 50 Indian research centres within its framework. We are certainly much interested in India’s experience. We are excited by your achievements. We should learn from you, as any person should learn from others. At the same time, I think our experience may also be valuable to you, as it has been in the past.
Today, there are 4,500 Indian students studying in Russia’s universities. Direct partnership ties are developing dynamically between our universities as well. I know that your university cooperates with the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Moscow State University, St Petersburg State University, from which I graduated and where I taught, the Institute of Oriental Studies and the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I am very pleased with these facts. I’m certain that this cooperation will lead to some very interesting research and very useful results.
To conclude my brief remarks, I would like to once again sincerely thank you for the honour you have bestowed upon me and to wish the university’s faculty and students all the very, very best. After all, it is no exaggeration to say our future depends on the results of your work and the university’s work – the way that our children and grandchildren will live, the kind of planet we will pass on to them, the relations that will exist between the Russian Federation and India. I am certain that together, we are capable of making the world a better place.
Thank you for your attention and for this great honour.
March 28, 2012, New Delhi