Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,
Let me take the opportunity of our meeting in this format to congratulate you once again on your election as Prime Minister of India.
Mr Prime Minister, we have already exchanged some views on our bilateral relations. I am very pleased to see that both Russia and India are in full consensus on developing these ties. This concerns our work together on political matters and on the international stage, and it concerns our economic ties and defence cooperation.
There is no question that our relations are strategic in nature and are built on the solid foundation of the longstanding friendship and mutual sympathy between our peoples.
We know that you are a great friend of our country and have already visited Russia on several occasions. Mr Prime Minister, I hope very much that we will be able to work together with your Government to continue building our relations and maintain the pace.
Narendra Modi (retranslated): Mr President, thank you for calling me to congratulate me after our party won the election. You passed on your warmest wishes and from our conversation I got the feeling that our new Government will work successfully with Russia and that we will take our bilateral relations to a new level.
If you ask anyone among the more than one billion people living in India who is our country’s greatest friend, every person, every child knows that it is Russia. Everyone knows that Russia has always stood side by side with India during the toughest moments and without demanding anything in return.
Our Government is committed to deepening Russian-Indian relations. We are working on expanding our fields of cooperation and looking for new areas in which to work together and new forms of cooperation for the future. India has a very high proportion of young people, with 65 percent of the population under the age of 35. This is our great strength and it can be put to use to carry out joint projects for the good of our nations, and for the good of humanity and global development in general. This is in the interests not just of our bilateral cooperation but would also help the rest of the world and benefit people in difficult circumstances.
We are looking forward to your visit in December, when you will come to take part in the annual summit. I have a request to make of you: this time, please do not come just for one day. If possible, come and visit our other cities too, not just New Delhi. I think this would be a good opportunity. You could visit the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, our joint project. I think that your visit there would be an excellent symbol of our cooperation.
After our Government came to power, my first trip out of New Delhi was to the place where the Vikramaditya, the ship that we received from Russia, is docked. This ship adds to our navy’s strength. It is an excellent example of the cooperation between our nations and a good signal to other countries.
I visited Moscow when I was Chief Minister of Gujarat. We also organised relations between Astrakhan and Gujarat and signed a memorandum of understanding. I later visited Russia again and on that occasion went to Astrakhan once more. We in Gujarat have the feeling that Astrakhan is very close to us.
While in Astrakhan, I visited a library there and saw chronicles from India. It was a surprise to see these kinds of documents from India there. I had the feeling there that these two regions, Astrakhan and Gujarat, are very close to each other culturally. There is a building in Astrakhan called the Indian House. It turns out that in past times, when merchants from Gujarat travelled to Astrakhan, this was where they stayed. Now, people in Astrakhan are very proud to show us how they have preserved and looked after this building.
I thank you for your clear views on various matters, including the views you expressed at the BRICS summit. Whether on Brazil, India or Africa, you have very good, precise and substantial views and opinions. Russia also has a very clear and frank position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. I thank you for this.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr Prime Minister.