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India considers relations with Russia a priority

October 18, 2013, 17:09 UTC+3
Indian Deputy Foreign Minister: Bilateral relations develop in the most different fields - in the military-technical field, high technology, science and culture
1 pages in this article
Photo EPA/ JAGADEESH NV

Photo EPA/ JAGADEESH NV

NEW DELHI, October 18 (Itar-Tass) - Relations with Russia are the priority for India’s foreign policy and they develop in all directions, Indian Deputy Foreign Minister Sujatha Singh said.

Speaking at a news briefing timed to a visit to Russia by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Indian deputy foreign minister said, “Russia is a reliable friend and partner of India over 60 years.”

“Bilateral relations develop in the most different fields - in the military-technical field, high technology, science and culture, and space exploration,” she said.

During the visit, the parties are expected to sign several agreements, including “in the spheres of science and technology, and energy efficiency. The agreements envisage exchanging technologies, information and experts”, head of the Indian Foreign Ministry’s Eurasian Department Ajai Bisaria said.

Singh said Russia “is India’s key partner in military-technical cooperation. In recent times it has developed through designing and producing the fifth generation fighters and a multi-purpose military transport aircraft”.

The Indian premier will make an official visit to Russia on October 20-22 to take part in the 14th annual Russian-Indian summit. The talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin are planning for October 21. They will be devoted to bilateral cooperation and global issues, including to the situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO troops”, Singh said.

Such summits are being held since 2000 twice in a year in Russia and twice a year in India.

Upon completion of the visit to Russia the Indian premier will travel to China at the invitation of Prime Minister Li Keqiang, the Indian Foreign Ministry reported.

Kudankulam NPP

India hopes to sign an agreement with Russia to build the 3rd and 4th units of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Sujatha Singh said.

The Indian diplomat said, “The first unit was build and commissioned in July. The construction of the second unit should be completed in the first half of 2014. Our companies should sign an agreement on the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant shortly.”

The nuclear power plant “proves close nuclear cooperation between India and Russia. We should develop relations in other fields,” she added.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make an official visit to Russia on October 20-22 to take part in the annual Russian-Indian summit. The talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled for October 21.

The Russian-Indian summits are being held since 2000 twice a year in Russia and twice a year in India.

Upon completion of the visit to Russia the Indian premier will travel to China at the invitation of his colleague Li Keqiang.

Putin will meet Indian prime minister October 21

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on October 21. The talks are expected to yield a joint statement that will reflect the two countries’ approaches to the development of strategic partnership and their commitment to expand trade and economic cooperation and coordinate their efforts on the most pressing international problems, the Kremlin press service reported on Friday.

According to the press service, a number of bilateral intergovernmental documents aiming to strengthen the legal framework of the Russia-India dialogue are ready for signing. These documents include an interstate agreement on the extradition of persons sentenced to prison terms, an agreement on closer cooperation in the area of energy efficiency, biotechnologies, and a programme of cooperation in the area of science and technology.

“The talks are expected to focus on key issues of the development of bilateral relations, implementation of agreements reached during the Russian president’s official visit to India,” the press service said. Apart from that, Putin and Singh will exchange views on regional and global problems. Among the topics on the agenda, there will be the situation in Afghanistan, in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Indian prime minister will be in Russia from October 20 through October 22, 2013.

Relations between the two countries have “special character of privileged strategic partnership,” the Kremlin press service said. This will be the third meeting between Putin and Singh in 2013.

A key mechanism of bilateral cooperation is the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic, scientific and technical, and cultural cooperation. Its regular nineteenth session was held in Moscow on October 4, 2013.

The trade and economic relations between the two countries are characterized by positive dynamics. In 2012, trade turnover reached a record-breaking figure of 11 billion U.S. dollars. According to Russian statistics, trade turnover in the first six months of 2013 was 5.5 billion U.S. dollars. Last year, the leaders of the two countries set an ambitious goal to bring bilateral trade up to 20 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. Notably, high technology commodity makes up the bulk of bilateral trade. “In 2012, machine-building products accounted for 48.9 percent of Russia’s exports to India, fertilizers - 13.5 percent, raw diamonds - 9.4 percent, ferrous metals and products of ferrous metallurgy - 7.3 percent. In all, these commodity groups accounted for 79.1 percent of overall exports,” the press service noted.

Russian imports from India in 2012 were made up pharmaceuticals (25.5 percent), machinery (23.9 percent), farming and food products (18.6 percent), textiles and ready-to-wear cloths (*.9 percent). In all, these goods accounted for 97.9 percent of Russia’s imports.

A larger portion of joint investments go to projects in the area of power generation, civil aircraft-building, car- and tractor-building, petrochemical industries, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and production of fertilizers. A key joint project is the construction of the Kudankulam nuclear plant.

Another example of successful cooperation in the development of the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas field (India’s ONGC state corporation holds a 20 percent stake). Still another promising project is the joint development (with Russia’s Akron Co.) of a phosphate deposit in the Kola Peninsula and a potassium salt deposit in the Perm Territory.

Under an agreed schedule, Russian specialists are building new energy facilities in India (the Konasima and Bar thermal power plants, the Teri and Balimela hydro power plant, etc.). A car manufacture facility in Hosur and a bulldozer assembly plant in Maharashtra will soon be commissioned. Other joint projects include the construction of a butyl rubber plant in Jamnagar and the construction of metro in Chennai.

Traditionally, high on the summit’s agenda are issues of military technical cooperation, which is seen by both sides as a top-priority component of the Russian-Indian partnership. In June 2013, another frigate (Trikand) that had been built at Russian shipyards was handed over to the Indian side. In November 2013, it is planned to hand over the Vikramaditya aircraft carries built in Russia for the Indian Navy. The sides are successfully implementing joint projects for the building of a fifth-generation fighter, a multi-purpose transport aircraft, and BraMos cruise missiles.

In the cultural and humanitarian areas, the year 2013 saw the Festival of Indian Culture in Russia. Last year, a similar festival and the Festival of Russian Contemporary Cinema were held in India.

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