India and Russia: new prospects for strategic partnership in the 21st century 2012-12-23 22:30:00 Ahead of the Russian President’s official visit to India, The Hindu published an article by Vladimir Putin. * * * I am glad to have an opportunity to address the readers of one of the most influential Indian newspapers – The Hindu. As my visit to New Delhi is beginning, I would like to outline approaches to further development of strategic partnership between India and Russia. This year marked the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. During the past decades we have acquired a vast experience of joint work and achieved progress in a range of fields. Political epochs were changing but the principles of bilateral ties, such as mutual confidence and equality, remained the same. I would like to stress that deepening of friendship and cooperation with India is among the top priorities of our foreign policy. And now we have every reason to say that they have really unique special and privileged character. The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step. The developments in the first decade of the 21st century confirmed that it was a particularly significant and timely step. In fact, today we, the whole civilization, face serious challenges. These are unbalanced global development, economic and social instability, lack of confidence and security. In that situation India and Russia show an example of responsible leadership and collective actions in the international arena. We have a common goal – to make the world we live in more just, democratic and secure and to facilitate resolving global and regional problems, including the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, and in Afghanistan. I would like to note that our joint work in the BRICS becomes increasingly intensive. The authority of that association is growing every year, and that is quite natural. Our proposed initiatives are aimed at establishing new architecture of multipolar world order. The same constructive approach is also reflected in our interaction in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other multilateral formats. We expect a meaningful dialogue with Indian side within the framework of Russia’s presidency in the G20 that has begun. Joint steps in the international arena, participation in the development of rules of global trade and enhancing business, scientific and technological and humanitarian ties form the basis for achieving a new quality of partnership. We attach particular significance to bilateral trade and investment relations. The growing economic potential of India and Russia is mutually complementary in many respects. Our trade turnover has overcome the consequences of global crisis, and in 2012 we expect to reach record numbers, over 10 billion USD. Our next goal is to reach 20 billion USD already by 2015. To this end, we should engage all reserves and maintain direct contacts between business communities and promote establishing efficient investment, technological and industry alliances in the most dynamic and promising fields. For instance, in energy industry, primarily nuclear one. The construction of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant with the use of the most reliable and up-to-date technologies and standards became a major breakthrough project in that field. The beginning of operation of the first power unit of that plant will allow to significantly reduce the energy deficiency in southern states of India, and eventually eliminate it completely, after the launch of the second and other power units. We expect that the implementation of our arrangements on the construction of new NPPs in India will begin in the nearest future. We hope for significant returns from long-term projects in steel industry, hydrocarbon production, car and aircraft manufacturing, chemical and pharmaceuticals industries, in the field of information and biotechnologies. Important benchmarks are set in the Integrated Long-Term Program of Cooperation in the sphere of science, technology and innovation until 2020. Its main task is to ensure that our scientists conduct fundamental and applied research in order to create new technologies, equipment and materials. The joint operation of Russian global navigation satellite system GLONASS opens up broad prospects. The package of respective bilateral agreements has already been signed. We intend to promote practical interaction in that important area. The strategic nature of partnership between India and Russia is witnessed by the unprecedented level of our military and technical cooperation. The licensed production and joint development of advanced armaments rather than just purchasing military products becomes a key area of activities. Serious attention is paid to developing a fifth generation multifunctional fighter plane and a multipurpose transport aircraft. The product of our designers, the ”BrahMos“ cruise missile, has successfully passed all tests. Today experts are thinking on its aircraft version. I am confident that such a multivector cooperation will allow our countries not only to reach leading positions as a range of hi-technology projects are concerned, but will help to successfully advance joint products to markets of third countries. Humanitarian cooperation has a particular significance for India and Russia, which are States with great cultural heritage and potential. The centuries-old history and culture of India, majestic architectural monuments and museums of Delhi, Agra and Mumbai have a unique attractive force. In its turn, Indian citizens with interest discover the wealth of Russian music, literature and art. The Festival of Russian Culture in India and All-Russian Festival of Modern Cinema and Culture of India which were successfully held this year have convincingly proved it once again. I am confident that awareness-raising and educational projects should be more actively promoted and tourism and youth exchanges developed. In fact, they enrich our citizens and add new contents to human dimension of bilateral relations which becomes all the more significant and relevant today. The India-Russia summit in New Delhi was preceded by painstaking and comprehensive preparations. We have a clear vision of major vectors of future-oriented joint work. I am confident that summit talks will be constructive, as they always were, and their outcome will give a powerful impetus to strategic partnership for the benefit of our two countries and peoples, in the interests of peace and stability in Eurasia and on our common planet. I will take the liberty to outline joint prospects for strategic partnership between India and Russia in the 21st century. These are deepening of cooperation in knowledge-intensive fields based on strong historic traditions, advancement of joint products to international markets, further increasing of the share of high value added products in the trade turnover, enhancing the role and effectiveness of Indian-Russian interaction in international affairs, and the widest possible realization of the potential of cultural and humanitarian contacts. I sincerely wish to the people of friendly India peace, well-being and new impressive achievements.