President Vladimir Putin: I would like to note that this visit to New Delhi is a special visit, and we attach particularly importance to it. Contacts and relations with the new government of this country are being established. At the same time, of course, it is pleasing for me to see that the Prime Minister and many of his colleagues have been working actively with the Russian Federation for a long time. And they have not only been working with Russia for a long time, but they have also done a great deal for the development of bilateral ties. And today I note with pleasure that we have made sure that the policy for developing strategic partnership between Russia and India is not subject to the political situation. Without any exaggeration, I can say that we have a full mutual understanding on the entire agenda discussed. Above all, we have common or very close approaches to the development of our cooperation in international organisations, and in the key organisation – the United Nations – in solving such problems as regulation in Iraq and Afghanistan, Middle East problems, and the war on terrorism.
We are grateful to the Indian side for its constructive approach and readiness – as the Prime Minister just said – to assist Russia in joining the World Trade Organisations. We are grateful for the Prime Minister’s statement that the market status of the Russian economy has essentially been recognised. Today a whole series of documents were signed, which I am certain will give a new dynamic to our cooperation. I would like to single out the Russian-Indian political declaration that establishes our coordinated common positions on main contemporary problems. And also the new framework intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in investigating the use of space for peaceful goals. A real mechanism of effective interaction has been created by our countries in space activity, going as far as realisation of large-scale programmes and projects.
I would like to note that work in this sphere is going smoothly every year, and increasing. Together with our Indian partners, we aim to gradually increase the field of business cooperation between our two countries. This concerns the expansion of investment cooperation. Indian companies are working on the project Sakhalin-1 – this is a large-scale energy project. Our companies are taking part in building the atomic energy station Kudankulam. We can expand our cooperation in the economic sphere, in such industries as energy, metallurgy, railway transport, water transport, and other spheres. We give great importance to cooperation between banks, regional cooperation and small business – these are all very promising areas.
Of course, we have not forgotten about science, culture or education. In conclusion, I would like to stress the richness and special level of trust in the talks that were held. The decisions passed today, I am absolutely certain, will be a major contribution in developing and giving dynamics to bilateral ties, and will strengthen our positions and our cooperation on the international stage.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Question: A question for Mr Putin. There have been reports in newspapers that the UN General Secretary has created a High level group on the issue of expanding the UN Security Council. And there are two possibilities for expansion, but they have one thing in common – new Security Council members will lack the power of veto. The Russian Federation has always supported India’s candidacy for permanent membership in this organisation. And of course, India would not like to be a second-category member of the Security Council it would also like to have the right to veto. How does Russia feel about this issue?
Mr Putin: Firstly, we are in favour of the United Nations preserving its universal nature, and being an effective tool for solving all international problems in modern conditions. We support re-organisation, including by expanding the number of permanent members of the Security Council. India is one of the largest nations in the world, India is our strategically privileged partner. And if we are talking of the expansion of the UN Security Council according to regional principle, then of course, in our opinion, India is undoubtedly candidate number one. We are quite flexible in the discussion process. I should tell you that we have full mutual understanding with our Indian partners on this issue. As for the right of veto and other tools, we consider it to be absolutely unacceptable for the most effective tools of activity of the UN Security Council to be weakened. Otherwise, the UN will lose its importance and role, and turn into a club of interests, into a new version of the League of Nations. And of course, there can be no infringement of the rights of permanent members of the Security Council. This, in my opinion, is a destructive path of development for the discussion. And we must, I repeat, show flexibility and take into account the interests of all the participants of this discussion process. I have determined our position.
Question: I have two questions. And the first is for the Indian Prime Minster. You said that you were prepared to accept market status for the Russian economy. But when can this decision be registered officially? Also, what is happening with talks on Russia joining the WTO, when can a protocol be signed, and what positions have been agreed upon?
The second question is for the Russian President and for the Indian Prime Minister. Will Russia and India sign an agreement to protect intellectual property rights?
Mr Singh: Whether Russia is a country with a market economy – this decision is important only in the context of anti-dumping investigations. According to the assurance of our former Prime Minister, Mr Vajpayee, that the Russian Federation will be given the status of a market economy, we will keep to this position and will acknowledge this status for Russia. As for Russia’s entry into the WTO, the process is that each country must individually discuss issues with the country that is joining the WTO. As I have already told Mr Putin, India will fully support Russia’s entry into the WTO. And this means that we will soon reach the completion of our talks on Russia’s entry into the WTO.
As for the issue of protection of intellectual property rights in the sphere of military and technical cooperation: we made the decision that this issue must be decided over four months. And this period begins in January. The common principles on this issue have already been determined, and all intellectual property rights will be protected in all future agreements. As for the documents signed: they will be implemented according to the conditions that existed during their signing. Thank you.
Mr Putin: As for Russia joining the World Trade Organisation, we essentially have just one technical issue remaining. We agreed on it today during talks. It concerns registering the agreement at expert level. Our position is that this is already a technical matter. As for the agreement on protection of intellectual property, both the Indian and the Russian sides are interested in this. I agree with the Prime Minister: we can and must solve this problem in 3–4 months. Thank you.