Vladimir Putin: Dear ladies and gentlemen!
I am sincerely glad to receive our respected visitor, Indian Prime Minister Mr Singh, in the Russian capital.
This is already our fourth meeting this year. The frequency of our contact is more testimony to the high-level and excellent dynamic of the Russian-Indian dialogue. India always has been and remains one of our most important partners in Asia and in the world. Similar geopolitical and economic interests and a shared responsibility for security and stability in the region and the world, are the traditional issues that unite India and Russia. It is pleasing that today we once again confirmed our shared aspirations to further increase the quality of the Russian-Indian strategic partnership.
Of course, our bilateral relations were the first topic of discussion. First and foremost, we talked about the prospects for business cooperation. We talked about the necessity of increasing the magnitude and the diversification of trade and of stimulating mutual capital investment. We consider energy, telecommunications, space exploration and transport infrastructure to be sectors where there is great potential for cooperation. Moreover, we noted that Russian-Indian cooperation in using nuclear energy for peaceful means has already developed successfully. In both January and August 2005, the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India received a nuclear reactor produced by the Izhora factory in Saint Petersburg.
During the talks we pointed out the good work done by the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military and technical cooperation. We both feel that economic growth and the positive investment climate in our countries opens significant new opportunities for expanding business contacts. We expect the intergovernmental commission to be more active with respect to cooperation in trade and economics, science and technology, and culture.
We intend to develop Russian-Indian partnership in cultural and educational spheres more actively.
This year, the Days of Indian Culture in Russia were a great success. We concluded an agreement whereby 2008 will be the Year of Russia in India, to be followed by the Year of India in the Russian Federation.
During the meeting we paid close attention to issues on international and regional agendas. Our talks confirmed that our countries have common approaches to these questions. Russia and India firmly support the creation of a multipolar system of international relations and favour using legal, political and diplomatic means to resolve conflicts. We are both interested in modifying the UN so that it is better adapted to today's conditions and preserving its central role in maintaining peace and security.
Russia welcomes the fact that India has the status of observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We intend to work closely with our Indian partners in the multilateral organizations in the Asia-Pacific region.
I shall add that the new tripartite cooperation between Russia, India and the People's Republic of China is developing in a dynamic way. The ever closer partnership between the three largest states on the continent is an important factor for economic stability and progress in a huge Eurasian territory.
Our countries are ready to cooperate more in the struggle against threats such as terrorism. Russia and India resoundingly condemn all terrorist acts and resolutely oppose all policies of double standards when fighting against this evil. We are convinced that criminals who kill and harm innocent people can never be excused. We shall strive so that terrorists feel politically and ideologically isolated and that they be punished by law.
In conclusion I shall once again express my satisfaction with the meeting's results and the benevolent and trusting atmosphere of the talks. I am convinced that this visit will help develop the Russian-Indian strategic partnership and strengthen the traditional friendship and mutual understanding between the people of India and those of the Russian Federation.
I would also like to thank Mr Prime Minister for his gracious invitation to visit India.
Manmohan Singh: Excellency, President Vladimir Putin!
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press!
Thank you Mr. President. You have our deep appreciation for the warm welcome that has been extended to me and the Indian Delegation. We now have a well-established practice of annual Summit level meetings. The last six months have also witnessed an unprecedented exchange of visits between our two countries including those by the President of India and the Chairperson of the UPA Smt. Gandhi. My visit has been preceded by the meetings of the Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation as well as the Joint Commission on Military Technical Cooperation, which we view as two important pillars of our relations.
I am happy to convey that discussions with President Putin today were extremely useful and productive. Our strategic partnership with Russia is characterized by trust and mutual confidence. Personally, I greatly value President Putin's own commitment to the consolidation of our bilateral relations. Our strategic partnership is based on a deep and abiding convergence of our vital national interests. This is a strong impetus for India and Russia to work together on key issues of the day.
I conveyed to President Putin that we cannot be satisfied with the status quo. Our objective is to anticipate what measures we need to take to meet new and emerging opportunities for further strengthening of our strategic partnership, in meeting our respective national priorities as well as in pooling of our efforts in sharing global responsibilities.
India and Russia are large economies, experiencing rapid economic growth. There is thus vast potential for expanding our trade and economic relations even as we integrate with and take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalization. It is with this forward looking perspective that we have agreed to set up a Joint Study Group to examine the feasibility of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between our two countries. I have assured President Putin of India's support for Russia's accession to WTO. The bilateral Accession Agreement will be concluded at the 3arliest.
My senior colleague and Defence Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee visited Moscow for the Joint Commission for Military Technical Cooperation which met in Moscow last month. A comprehensive review was undertaken of our longstanding relations with Russia which occupies a special place as the leading supplier of military hardware to our Armed Forces. Our perspective, however, is to move towards collaborative projects involving design,
development and production of the next generation military products. India and Russia have identified the Medium Range Transport Aircraft and the Fifth Generation Aircraft as two such projects, and we will continue expert level discussions on them. We are happy that the long awaited IPR Agreement on Military-Technical Cooperation has been concluded today.
We see energy security as an area of tremendous potential. India has made its most important overseas investment in the Sakhalin-I project, which has already come on stream. We are looking at other joint projects in Russia. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Station in Tamil Nadu, which is being constructed with Russian assistance will be commissioned in 2007–08. We see Russia as a vital partner in furthering the objective of full civil nuclear cooperation between India and the international community. We feel that there is vast potential for the expansion of cooperation in this area, given India's growing energy requirements and the importance of nuclear energy as a clean and viable alternative energy source.
Our discussion on regional and international issues demonstrated once aga.n a meeting of minds. We have a common objection of creating an international equilibrium based on a just and equitable world order. There is hardly an international issue whose solution can be found without Russia's active involvement and contribution. This is a tribute to President Putin's leadership of this great country. I would like to thank him once again for his personal commitment for promotion of relations with India.
I have invited President Putin to visit India and I am happy to state that he has accepted this invitation.
Question: President Putin, my question is for you. Both India and Russia seek to increase their cooperation in the nuclear sector. A nuclear suppliers group was created to work on nuclear cooperation with India, but after this group was established, it turned out that there were some obstacles in the way of supplies of fuel, equipment and nuclear materials to India. Efforts are being made now to change the rules within the nuclear suppliers group. But, if this process proves difficult, if delays occur and obstacles arise, would Russia be ready to take the initiative for changing these rules, and would it be ready to take measures to ensure supplies of nuclear materials to India for use in India’s civilian nuclear programme?
Vladimir Putin: As you know, Russia and India have developed successful cooperation in the nuclear energy sector. I already mentioned the specific example of our cooperation on the Kudankulam nuclear power station project. We see that India is taking all the necessary steps to build up its relations with the international community, including with the nuclear suppliers group. It has separated its military and civilian nuclear programmes, is passing necessary legislation and is working actively with other countries, and with the nuclear suppliers group you referred to. We view India as our strategic partner and we will take active steps to ensure that India can work on its objectives effectively and carry out all its programmes in all different sectors, including the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Question: I have a question for both leaders. First, a question for the Prime Minister of India: there has been a lot of discussion lately about building a gas pipeline that would cross Iran, India and Pakistan. What are the prospects, in your opinion, for this project being carried out?
And a question for the President of Russia: you already mentioned Russia’s participation in building the nuclear power station in India. What other projects do Russia and India have in the energy sector? Did you discuss them today during your talks? Thank you.
Manmohan Singh: India’s fast-growing economy creates demand for commercial energy. Currently, India is an importer of commercial energy. This dependence will become only greater in the future, and this is why we need to examine the possibility of receiving gas from our neighbours, from Iran, for example, for our economy to be able to continue developing. I think that the construction of this gas pipeline would be a big boost to gas consumption in our country. If our countries could work together on this project it would be in the interests of political stability and would contribute to regional cooperation and development.
Vladimir Putin: Our experts are studying not only the possibility of building the pipeline you mentioned, but are also looking at building other gas and oil pipelines in the region. As India continues working to settle its nuclear energy issues with other countries, Russia hopes to take part in carrying out the ambitious plans that our Indian friends have in the area of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Regarding oil and gas production and supply, we also have big plans, interesting plans. The Sakhalin-1 project has already been mentioned. Above all, this project represents big investments – more than $10 billion. Our Indian friends and partners spoke of their interest in developing this and other similar projects during our talks today, and this means that the project has got off to a successful start. This investment being made is investment in a good and reliable undertaking. This is cause for great satisfaction and it is a good signal. We know that India is looking to increase its oil and gas supplies and we are working at expert level to study all possible options for reaching this objective.
Question: Did you discuss Iran’s nuclear programme and reaching a settlement on this issue in the IAEA during your talks today? What decision did you come to?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, the Prime Minister and I did discuss the Iranian nuclear programme. We hope that our Iranian partners will comply with all their commitments, including the commitments they have made on a unilateral basis. We believe that the IAEA’s possibilities for settling all the issues concerning the Iranian nuclear programme are far from having been exhausted. For its part, Russia will do all it can to facilitate the negotiating process between our Iranian partners and all the other countries involved in settling this issue.
Manmohan Singh: I fully agree with Mr Putin and I hope too that this issue will be settled through the IAEA.
Question: This is a question for both leaders: How do you see prospects for trilateral cooperation between Russia, India and China, and what possible directions could this cooperation take? Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: We discussed this today and looked at the prospects for cooperation in a trilateral format. Russia, India and the People’s Republic of China all have an interest, of course, in working directly to encourage progress in the Asian region. We cooperate actively on a bilateral basis, on a trilateral basis and within the framework of international organisations. Our cooperation mechanisms are developing quite effectively, including at ministerial level. Our cooperation is becoming increasingly more concrete and purpose-oriented in nature and Russia will support this process.
Manmohan Singh: India, Russia and China are all countries with very fast-growing economies and we think therefore, that there are great opportunities for expanding our cooperation on both a bilateral and trilateral basis. We should examine all the possibilities for making more effective use of the immense potential we have for developing bilateral and trilateral cooperation.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.