Vladimir Putin (speaking after Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee): Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me real pleasure to once again welcome our honoured guest, the Prime Minister of India, Mr Vajpayee. We see this visit as an important step in the development of our bilateral relations. Our relations were always built and continue to be founded on the principle of equality and are developing in a spirit of friendship and openness.
The outcome of these talks is that we have signed a Declaration on Global Challenges and Threats to International Security and Stability. This declaration sets out the main areas for cooperation between our two countries on the international stage in the 21st century. As the Prime Minister noted, one of the most serious modern threats we face is terrorism. Other challenges before us are drugs, organised crime and other problems afflicting the modern world.
We are working together on building up the international legal framework we need for cooperation in the fight against terrorism. In this respect I would like to express our gratitude to our Indian colleagues for their support for Russia’s initiatives on creating a global system to counteract the new threats and challenges we face. We share a common approach to the majority of global problems. We are united in our determination to achieve serious results in resolving the problems the world community faces, and we are united in our belief that this can only be done through coordinated collective efforts and with the United Nations playing a central role.
We also discussed the situation in South Asia. Russia welcomes India’s new initiatives to improve relations with Pakistan.
During our talks we had a detailed discussion on the prospects for our bilateral cooperation. We believe it is important to develop all the aspects of the Russian-Indian strategic partnership. We discussed carrying out a number of major projects, which my colleague just mentioned. We also talked about partnership in science and technology and military-technical cooperation, and about the promising objectives that our two countries have in this area.
Our common priorities include increasing our mutual trade turnover, giving the private sector a greater role in trade and economic cooperation and strengthening ties in the high-technology sector and in banking contracts. It is also our firm intention to develop inter-regional ties, humanitarian contacts between people and scientific and cultural exchanges.
Next year we plan to hold a cultural event, Days of Indian Culture in the Russian Federation, and we are sure that this will be a success.
The substantial package of documents that was signed today aims directly at reaching precisely the objectives I referred to.
In conclusion I would like to note particularly that these talks have confirmed the trust inherent in our dialogue and the uniqueness and diversity of Russian-Indian strategic cooperation. I am confident that our relations will continue to develop rapidly and positively in the interests of our peoples and in the interests of peace and stability in the world.
I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his invitation to visit India. We will agree on a date through the Foreign Ministry.
Thank you for your attention.