Press Conference Following Russian-Indian Talks
November 12, 2007,
The Kremlin, Moscow
Press Conference following Russian-Indian Talks
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN:
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today's talks with the prime Minister of India, Mr Singh, are the continuation of the ongoing and mutually beneficial dialogue that Russia and India have pursued over these last years.
I think the talks have produced very good results. As always, they took place in a constructive and genuinely businesslike atmosphere. We discussed a ride range of bilateral issues and examined our cooperation at regional and international level. What is important for us is that this meeting here in Moscow has reaffirmed our mutual desire to develop long-term cooperation in all key areas.
We examined closely our trade and economic relations and the implementation of our earlier agreements on dramatically increasing our bilateral trade to $10 billion by 2010. I am pleased to say that trade between our countries has picked up the pace over these last years: it increased by 27 percent in 2006 and was up 30 percent over the first eight months of this year.
These figures confirm not only the considerable successes we have attained but also show that the joint steps we have taken are timely and correct. It is in our common interests to consolidate this clearly positive trend. The work of our joint research group will contribute to this process. The group has prepared an expert evaluation of the current state of our trade and economic ties and made recommendations for future steps to expand our cooperation in this area. In particular, it is proposed that we set up a joint working group under the aegis of the Russian Economic Development and Trade Ministry and India's Ministry of Commerce to draw up new agreements for comprehensive economic cooperation.
We paid particular attention to our cooperation in the nuclear energy and military-technical sectors. The agreements signed today, on developing a multi-purpose transport aircraft, and yesterday, on developing a multi-functional new generation fighter aircraft, open up new opportunities for scientific, technical and production cooperation in very sensitive areas.
We consider that our partnership in the energy sector, in particular in the Sakhalin-1 project, has been a positive experience. The conditions are in place for building on this experience and extending it to new projects in Russia, India and third countries.
Integration of Russian and Indian efforts in the high-technology sectors gives our producers an important competitive edge on the global market. In this context, during the preparations for this summit, we signed a document on the establishment of three new joint research centres: one for non-ferrous metals, one for biomedical technology, and one for accelerators and lasers. We will continue our cooperation in high-technology sectors such as telecommunications, space exploration, fundamental research and applied science.
This year is an anniversary year and marks 60 years since our countries established diplomatic relations. We have marked this anniversary by intensifying our contacts in the widest range of areas. Looking at the results, the Prime Minister and I gave a positive assessment of our colleagues' work, including that of the intergovernmental commission for trade and economic, scientific and technical and cultural cooperation, and the intergovernmental commission for military-technical cooperation.
I note also that our humanitarian contacts have gained in substance. As you know, the Year of Russia will take place in India in 2008, and in 2009, the Year of India will take place in our country. Around 150 different events have already been planned to mark the Year of Russia in India, and I am sure an undertaking of this scale will help to bring our peoples closer together.
Our discussions of global and regional issues reaffirmed the common or close positions we share on all of the key issues. We discussed in detail the situation in the region and the most pressing international problems. We reaffirmed that the primacy of international law and the central role of the United Nations must remain our reference points.
We have agreed to continue our work together on eradicating terrorism and fighting crime and drugs trafficking. The agreement we signed today on fighting illicit drugs trafficking will make our joint efforts to prevent these activities much more effective.
We will continue to work together in close coordination in the international organisations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, in which India has observer status, in the interests of ensuring global and regional security. We think it is important to expand our cooperation within the framework of this organisation.
We think there are very good prospects for expanding ties within the trilateral Russia-India-China format and within the BRIC group: Brazil, Russia, India and China.
In conclusion, I would like to say once more that we are happy with the results of this meeting, and I would like to thank the Prime Minister for a constructive and very frank conversation and for the concrete proposals our Indian colleagues made during the discussions today.
Thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA MANMOHAN SINGH (as translated):
Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
This is the eighth annual Indian-Russian summit and my fourth visit to Russia as prime minister of India. I am truly happy to be visiting this wonderful country once more.
I would like to thank you, Mr President, for the warm welcome and the hospitality that I and my delegation have received.
I am very pleased with the discussions with President Putin. These discussions were distinguished by their warm spirit and the common and similar views we share on all the different issues.
We made considerable progress on many of the issues that were discussed at the last summit back in January. We had a wide-ranging discussion and outlined areas for further cooperation between our two countries.
I also had a very useful exchange of views with Prime Minister Zubkov. We discussed ways of significantly expanding our economic relations in order to consolidate our partnership and cooperation. We agree that there are immense opportunities for cooperation and we discussed recommendations for setting up a joint focus group to make these opportunities reality. I am pleased that we have succeeded in finding a solution to the old problem of using the rupee debt.
We also agreed to double our efforts to increase our bilateral trade to $10 billion by 2010. I will be meeting today with Russian business leaders and will make an earnest appeal to them to invest in our very important relations.
The symbol of our cooperation is the joint agreement we have signed on launching an unmanned spacecraft to carry out scientific research on the Moon.
We continued our dialogue in the energy sector. I would like to thank His Excellency the President of Russia for his constant support for our nuclear research programme and for his help in lifting the international restrictions on nuclear cooperation with India that are still in place today.
Defence sector cooperation is one of the pillars of our strategic partnership. The decisions we have made on working together to develop a fifth-generation fighter aircraft and a multi-purpose transport aircraft are important steps in this sector.
We had constructive discussions of regional and global issues and noted the closeness of our views and interests. We greatly value Russia's role in international affairs and its role as a global leader on key issues.
Our two countries are preparing enthusiastically for the Year of Russia in India in 2008 and the Year of India in Russia in 2009. We want to show the whole world the new Russia in India and the new India in Russia. I would like to invite President Putin and Prime Minister Zubkov to visit India.
Ladies and gentlemen, our two countries have a strategic partnership that has stood the test of time, and our talks today have strengthened and cemented our commitment to cooperation in a wide range of areas. I am really very pleased with the results of my visits and I would like to thank President Putin for this. Thank you.
QUESTION (as translated): This is a question for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Did you have any further talks on the memorandum agreed on in January on construction of the nuclear reactors at Kudankulam? And what is the situation today with the Russian and American demands that India sort out its relations with the IAEA? Are there any concrete deadlines for this?
MANMOHAN SINGH (as translated): India and Russia have extensive cooperation in the nuclear energy sector. Russia has been working for many years now on building two nuclear reactors at Kudankulam and has supplied fuel for the nuclear power plant in Tarapore. When President Putin visited India in January this year we signed a memorandum on construction of four additional nuclear power reactors in Kudankulam and an intergovernmental agreement on this work is currently being drawn up. We hope to expand our cooperation with Russia in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
As for the question of when we will begin working with the IAEA, this is an issue that will be discussed by all the coalition partners and the government. This is a process that requires broad international consensus and work continues at present.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I can only add that Russia has always been a reliable partner for India. Our Indian partners know and affirm this, and we discussed this subject today during our talks.
QUESTION: My question is for both leaders. Did you discuss trilateral cooperation between Russia, India and China today, and what is your position? What prospects do you see for intensifying this cooperation? Thank you.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: As you know, the first Russia-India-China summit took place in 2006 on the sidelines of the G8 summit in St Petersburg. After this, when we saw that there were good prospects for developing this cooperation, we established regular contacts through our respective foreign ministers. This cooperation is beginning to expand in different areas. We have agreed that our colleagues working in the areas of healthcare, industry and other areas of interest for our cooperation will meet on a trilateral basis. There is also a serious intellectual component to this practical cooperation. Political experts from our three countries not only agree to meet, they also exchange views and cement them with promising joint developments and political recommendations on how to develop our trilateral cooperation in the short-, medium- and long-term perspective. We are happy with the way this work is going.
MANMOHAN SINGH (as translated): As President Putin said, he, I, and President of China Hu Jintao, took part in the first summit between our countries in St Petersburg on the sidelines of the G8 summit. We place great importance on our relations with Russia and China. We are neighbours, we have ties between our civilisations, we complement each other, and, in this world in which we all ever more interdependent, we must study the areas that bind us together. I see this process as very important indeed.