President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Prime Minister, Indian friends,
I wish you a warm welcome. Yesterday, the Prime Minister and I had informal consultations and talked about the international situation and, of course, developing the strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and India.
Now our talks are continuing in the Kremlin. We have just had a very meaningful discussion in a restricted format, looking at the most important aspects of our relations in the economic and military technical spheres.
Our relations are built on solid and long-standing traditions of friendship and over these last years have not weakened but only grown stronger. The positive trend is continuing, including as reflected in our good trade results. Despite the current crisis, our bilateral trade has increased by almost 8 percent. I hope that the figures will be even higher by the end of the year. Overall, we are optimistic about the future.
I think that the different organisations responsible for organising our cooperation, above all the Intergovernmental Commission, are doing quite a good job. Several meetings have taken place and have outlined new objectives for our cooperation in all different areas of our economic relations. This includes energy, transport, the metals sector, information technology, the pharmaceuticals industry and biotechnology. We hope to make progress in all of these different areas.
Of course, it is also very important to step up contacts between our countries’ business elites, between entrepreneurs, because it is they who set the pace and intensity of our business ties. As I understand it, there will be further discussions on this subject today.
Mr Prime Minister, today we will preside over the signing of a whole number of important agreements reflecting the full diversity of our strategic partnership, from economic issues to cultural matters.
This has been a special year for us because it is the Year of Indian Culture in Russia. Many events have taken place, and I hope that this whole event will bring our countries and peoples even closer together.
I wish you a warm welcome, Mr Prime Minister. Let’s continue our talks.
Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh: Thank you very much, Your Excellency, President Medvedev, distinguished ministers and members of the Russian delegation.
Mr President, thank you very much for your very warm words of welcome. We have had two very productive discussions, last evening at your dinner and this morning in the restricted session. I expressed to you my profound regards for the personal interest that you have taken in strengthening our two countries’ strategic partnership.
Mr President, allow me at the outset to express our deepest condolences over the tragic incident in Perm, which resulted in the loss of so many innocent lives.
I am delighted to be in Russia for the second time in this year. That reflects the importance that we attach to our relationship with your great country, Mr President. Our high-level bilateral engagement has been particularly intensive in the year 2009. Our President paid a successful state visit to Russia in September this year. There have been several exchanges at the ministerial levels.
All these visits have taken place after our government was re-elected to office in the general elections of May 2009. This reflects the very high priority we attach to our relations with the friendly country of Russia. Mr President, the India-Russia strategic partnership is a unique partnership. It is firmly rooted in deep mutual trust and confidence, and a shared vision of a multi-polar world. We believe that a strong and prosperous Russia is an important factor for global peace, stability, and prosperity. Our relations with third countries will never be at the cost of our time-tested relations with Russia.
Your Excellency, your visit to India in December 2008 opened a new chapter in our relations. We look forward to the further intensification of our relations in all spheres – trade and investment. As you said, our trade is increasing even through the world is afflicted with a global slowdown, but more could be done. We have strong ties in defence, nuclear energy, space, science and technology, culture, and people-to-people contacts. I would especially like to thank you for the support extended by the government of Russia for organizing the Year of India in Russia.
Mr President, the India-Russia partnership also has global significance. Our two countries have an important role to play in gently addressing the key regional and global challenges of our time, such as the revival of the global economy, terrorism, energy security, climate change, and reform of international institutions.
Mr President, I look forward to working with Your Excellency, to taking our relations to even greater heights, for the benefit of our two peoples and the world at large.
With these words, I once again thank you for the warm welcome extended to me and to members of my delegation.