New Delhi, Dec 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in their annual summit, outlined a new vision and expand manifold cooperation in oil, gas, electric power production and nuclear energy.
In a boost to their “special strategic partnership”, Russia will build at least 12 nuclear reactors besides manufacturing advanced dual-used helicopters as the two countries signed 20 agreements in oil, gas, defence, investment and other key sectors on Thursday.
The Russian news agency Tass and the Press Trust of India (PTI) signed an agreement envisaging cooperation in exchange of news.
Calling Russia a “pillar of strength” for India, Modi, in a joint media interaction with Putin, said the strategic partner will remain New Delhi’s “most important defence partner” though options have increased.
“President Putin and I discussed a broad range of new defence projects. We also discussed how to align our defence relations to India’s own priorities, including Make in India.
“I am pleased that Russia has offered to fully manufacture in India one of its most advanced helicopters. It includes the possibility of exports from India. It can be used for both military and civilian use. We will follow up on this quickly,” Modi said after around three-and-half-hour long meeting with Putin that comprised restricted as well as delegation level talks.
Combating terrorism, stability in Afghanistan
The Prime Minister said the areas of priority for cooperation between India and Russia include combating terrorism and extremism; advancing peace and stability in Afghanistan; working together for a stable, balanced, peaceful and prosperous Asia Pacific; and cooperating for development in other countries.
“I conveyed my deepest condolences for the loss of lives in the terrorist attack in Chechnya. This also reflects our many shared challenges,” Modi said.
“Our areas of priority for our cooperation include combating terrorism and extremism; advancing peace and stability in Afghanistan; working together for a stable, balanced, peaceful and prosperous Asia Pacific; and, cooperating for development in other countries,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi said institutions like BRICS, East Asia Summit and G 20 have also widened our framework of engagement.
Asserting that energy security is critical for India’s economic development and creating jobs for the youth, Prime Minister Modi said Russia is a key partner in this area.
“I am pleased that the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is on stream. It has added 20 percent to the existing capacity for nuclear power in India. We are on course for installing the next three units of 1000 MW each,” said in his media statement.
He said: “Today, we have outlined an ambitious vision for nuclear energy of at least ten more reactors. It will have the highest standards of safety in the world. It will also include manufacture of equipment and components in India. This also supports our Make in India policy.”
Prime Minister Modi said both sides have today taken a number of decisions and signed several agreements.
Eurasian Economic Union
Prime Minister Modi thanked President Putin for his support for India’s closer relations with the Eurasian Economic Union.
Modi said: “The International North South Transport Corridor will connect us better. And, today, we will jointly visit the World Diamond Conference. This highlights our new innovative approaches to strengthening economic relations.”
“Our partnership and the strong sensitivity that we have always had for each other’s interests will be a source of strength to both countries,” he said, adding that the steadfast support of the people of Russia for India has been there even at difficult moments in our history.
Asserting that the character of global politics and international relations is changing, Prime Minister Modi said: “However, the importance of this relationship and its unique place in India’s foreign policy will not change.”
Putin promises deepening cooperation with India
Asserting that deepening cooperation with New Delhi is Moscow’s foreign policy priority, President Putin said the bilateral ties between both sides have been elevated to the level of special privileged strategic partnership and they continue to develop dynamically.
Putin said: “Steadily deepening our cooperation with our friends from India is undoubtedly Russia’s foreign policy priority. Our bilateral relations have been elevated to the level of special privileged strategic partnership and they continue to develop dynamically.”
“While all issues have all been discussed in the first half of the day and reflected in our joint statement, we intend to deepen our political dialogue to reinforce our business, scientific and technical cooperation as well as manage diplomatic contacts, which has continued for many decades between our two countries,” he added.
Putin further said that special emphasis has been given on the current trade and economic issues during today’s meeting.
“In 2013, our bilateral trade amounted to USD 10 billion and we believe that it is quite obvious that this is not enough. We have talked in detail the practical measures aimed at diversifying our bilateral trade and at further increasing our investment,” said Putin.
“We have agreed to stimulate our companies to cooperate more closely and to work closely to more active conditions to using national currencies in mutual settlements,” he added.
The Russian President said new promises and prospects for cooperation will arise on January 1 next year when the Eurasian Economy Union starts to function.
(With Agency Inputs)