President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev:
Ladies and gentlemen,
I greet everyone who has gathered for this wonderful ceremony marking the closing of the Year of Russia in India. The warm and friendly atmosphere that reigns here is the best reflection of the kind of relations the Russian Federation and India enjoy. The nature of these relations is such that they cover many different levels and can be defined by many different terms, but there is no doubt at all that what characterizes them is goodwill, sincerity and trust.
It is these profound and mutual feelings, and of course the traditional Indian hospitality, that have made the Year of Russia in India such a success and infused it with such a sincere desire to deepen the relations that bind our peoples. I make no secret of the fact that I too am very happy to have this first chance to get to know your country.
The Year of Russia in India fully lived up to our expectations. More than 150 events were held during its course. But what makes an impression of course is not just the number of events but also their extraordinary quality. They included the Russian Culture Festival, and the joint work on preserving the heritage of the Roerich family, the days of Russian cities and regions, and the book fairs, business conferences, and academic forums.
I hope that the Year of Russia in India gave you a full picture of a modern, dynamic and new Russia. And just as important, I hope that it has expanded the personal contacts between our countries’ citizens. I am sure that the Year of India in Russia next year will continue this work.
We are looking forward to the start of this Year, and above all because we hope to see memorable events. We are constant in our fond feelings for your people and your wonderful land. Indian history, philosophy, classical dance and Indian cinema are all very popular in Russia. Our people are genuinely interested in India’s music and unique cultural and culinary traditions. But we understand very well that India is not just thousands of years of history and traditions, but also modern innovative technology, advanced industry, and a solid financial system.
Once again, I want to say that our peoples are bound by many centuries of friendship of course, and we can say with full confidence today that these traditions of friendship have grown into a strategic partnership between our countries. Cooperation with India is one of the Russian Federation’s foreign policy priorities.
* * *
Our countries both look to the future, and they have joint potential that will help us to overcome the sometimes exceptionally complex and serious common challenges and problems that we face and scale new heights together. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
I want to take this opportunity to once again wish the people of India peace, goodness and prosperity.
Thank you very much!