President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to have Her Excellency the President of India Ms Patil here in Moscow. I would like to say that we are very interested in further developing and extending strategic Russian-Indian cooperation in various fields.
Today we have continued the dialogue that began in New Delhi in December last year, when Madam President and I first met. Today’s talks in restricted and expanded format allowed us to take stock of progress made since last December, and to discuss further plans and things to be done in the future. I would just like to say that our assessments of the prospects for Russian-Indian cooperation and for our partnership are absolutely identical. We both consider our relations and our strategic dialogue to be key factors in the foreign policy of our two countries.
India has long been one of our country’s most important partners — we were just talking about this. Even during this crisis, our trade and economic relations have maintained their very positive trend. During the first five months of this year, the most difficult year in the past ten, in spite of everything trade between our countries has already increased by nearly 15 percent and during this period exceeded more than 2.5 billion dollars. There is every reason to believe that the goal we set ourselves, to raise the volume of bilateral trade to 10 billion dollars a year, will be achieved in fairly short order. And we're very pleased about this, since economic relations are the basis of our contacts in every other area.
The priorities of our relationship include enhancing cooperation in energy, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, knowledge-intensive industries (especially important in today’s world), transportation, banking, the ongoing construction of Koodankulam nuclear power plant, the Indian government oil and gas corporation’s participation in the Sakhalin-1 project [a plan for the development of oil and gas on the northeast shelf of Sakhalin Island] and a number of other projects.
We attach great importance to direct contacts between those in business. I hope that such contacts will be further strengthened and expanded by the Russian-Indian Forum on Trade and Investment and the Indian Trade and Industry Exhibition planned for the end of September.
Scientific, technical and cultural ties between our countries are currently in a state of rapid development. During my visit to New Delhi, I participated in the closing ceremony of the Year of Russia in India. Now we are celebrating the Year of India in Russia and it has been very successful. There has already been a tour by famous Indian performers, who have always been admired in our country. In June, Indian filmmakers participated in international film festivals in Moscow and St Petersburg. There will also be exhibitions of Indian books and paintings by some of their leading artists. The inhabitants of Moscow, Ufa, Samara and Kazan will be treated to a series of dance performances. Soon, Russian public will see Week of Indian science and technology and a number of scientific seminars, not to mention the business contacts that I have just talked about.
Tonight on the new stage at the Bolshoi Theater there will be a gala concert of Indian artists, which is timed to coincide with the visit of Ms President Patil.
Such a varied programme enables our people to become better acquainted with India’s extraordinarily rich history, with its cultural heritage and of course with its modern achievements. All this is a source of genuine interest for our public.
During the meeting with Ms President, we compared our approaches to international contacts, global issues and regional problems. Here too our positions are the same or substantially the same. We were talking about strengthening the role of major international institutions such as the United Nations in international affairs, ensuring security and stability in various parts of the world, including the Middle East and Central Asia (we discussed this specifically), the terrorist threat of course, which unfortunately is a big problem for India and Russia, and the fight against drug-trafficking. We are coordinating foreign policy in all these areas. And here we are ready for very close cooperation with our Indian friends.
Good prospects exist for the international and regional formats that are already in place. I mean the Russia-India-China format and the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India, China], and the development of cooperation on regional security issues in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. These forums were held in Yekaterinburg this summer. They took place at the highest level, and we are very pleased that on these issues too there is unanimity on the prospects of such contacts. In my view they are extremely helpful.
In general this year has been and will continue to be a busy one. There will be a series of high-level contacts. There is Ms President Patil’s current state visit to our country, my contacts with Prime Minister Singh and visits by Russian delegations to India. All these will continue this year, and this shows the level of interaction, the level of integration that exists between our two countries on various matters.
Once again I would like to thank Madam President for the fruitful and open talks and express my hopes for the effective implementation of all our agreements. I very much hope that Ms President’s time in our country will be enjoyable and leave a good impression.
I would like to welcome you once again, Ms President.
President of India Pratibha Patil (as translated into Russian): I am very pleased to be in Moscow at the invitation of His Excellency President Dmitry Medvedev. I would like to thank President Medvedev and the people of Russia for honouring me with this invitation. My talks in the Kremlin with the President of Russia have been extremely fruitful and characterised by an open and frank atmosphere and concerned the strengthening of strategic partnership between our countries. The longstanding relations between Russia and India have been marked by continuity, trust and understanding. We are keen to extend bilateral cooperation between Russia and India, and we exchanged views on ways and means to further strengthen bilateral cooperation between Russia and India in the future.
We also exchanged opinions on regional and international issues that are important for our countries. We noted with satisfaction the level of contact between the political leadership of our countries, including the already established practice of holding annual summits, as well as meetings and exchanges at ministerial and other levels.
India and Russia are determined to continue and further expand the excellent political contacts between our countries. We attach great importance to the establishment of regular parliamentary exchanges and the establishment of institutional arrangements for contacts between the executive and judicial authorities of India and Russia. We look forward to further strengthening these contacts.
We note that there is great potential for further expansion of our relations, especially in the field of space research, energy, including hydrocarbons and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, high technology and military technical cooperation.
We have expressed our satisfaction with the continuing efforts to achieve bilateral trade worth 10 billion dollars per year by 2010, a goal that was agreed to by both parties. We also noted that the current level of bilateral economic cooperation is still below the potential that exists in both countries. The private sector of both nations should assume a proactive role in this regard.
There is particular satisfaction for me in the fact that my visit coincides with the Year of India in Russia. President Medvedev and I will take part in a gala concert to introduce Indian culture during my stay in Moscow.
I very much look forward to meeting with the Prime Minister of Russia, His Excellency Vladimir Putin, as well as the Chairman of the Federation Council [Sergei Mironov] and the Chairman of the State Duma [Boris Gryzlov].
In the second part of my visit, I will be going to St Petersburg on September 5–6. There I will be meeting with the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Northwest Federal District [Ilya Klebanov], and will visit two world famous museums, the Hermitage and Peterhof.
The relationship between India and Russia is very special and is based on the historic contacts between our civilizations. My visit to Russia reaffirms the priority that Russia and India attach to the strategic partnership between our two countries.
Thank you, Mr President.