Lahore : President of Russia Vladimir Putin has said that we always come to India with great pleasure and even excitement because we know that here we will find an atmosphere of very sincere friendship and business cooperation.
Our nations have enjoyed long and close relations of friendship, mutual respect and sympathy. Yesterday, during my working dinner with the Prime Minister – by the way, I am very grateful for this sign of friendship – we were able to talk face-to-face without any rush about the critical problems in the world, discuss issues of principle in the development of Russian-Indian cooperation and lay out new horizons.
And today, first in a restricted format and later with the participation of our delegations, we discussed key areas of cooperation, held substantive talks on the entire range of issues related to bilateral cooperation and examined topical matters on the global and regional agenda in detail.
Following the talks, we adopted a joint statement that reflects almost all aspects of Russian-Indian cooperation and drafts large-scale and long-term plans. An impressive package of interdepartmental and corporate documents that was signed just now was specially prepared for the visit and aims at further promoting bilateral times in various spheres.
Of course, during the talks, we had a detailed discussion of trade and investment cooperation, to the expansion of which Mr Prime Minister and I both devote great attention.
Some time ago, we set the goal of increasing trade to $30 billion by 2025, and the volume of mutual investment to $15 billion. In this context, we were satisfied to note that last year mutual trade grew by 21 percent to over 9 billion, and increased by another 20 percent during the first seven months of this year. If we continue at this rate, we will not only reach the goal we have set, but we will do so earlier and move further.
Business communities in Russia and India maintain close contacts and implement large joint investment projects. An Indian delegation took part in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum and the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. I am pleased to repeat my invitation for the Prime Minister to attend the economic forum in Vladivostok as the main guest next September.
New Delhi is hosting the Russian-Indian business forum, and Mr Modi and I will address its participants and support useful business initiatives to develop cooperation in key economic and financial sectors.
Promoting cooperation in energy was a topic the Prime Minister and I focused on. We praised the implementation of the interdepartmental cooperation programme in this area, which is strategic for our countries.
Russia is a reliable supplier of hydrocarbons to India. Rosneft and Gazprom have long-term contracts to provide Indian economy with fuel, which are being successfully implemented. India imports Russian liquefied natural gas from the Sakhalin 1 field, where our Indian partners own 20 percent. This June the first LNG delivery was made to the Indian market as part of the contract between Gazprom and India’s Gail.
In turn, we welcome Indian energy companies’ interest in expanding their operations in Russia. We are ready to examine the opportunity to cooperate in the framework of such programmes as Far Eastern LNG, Arctic LNG and other projects aimed at exploring the natural resources of Siberia, Yamal and the Russian continental shelf.
We had a detailed discussion on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, a flagship project in the peaceful use of the atom. The first two units are gradually reaching their full capacity, and the third and fourth units are under construction. They are soon to be followed by the fifth and the sixth.
According to our agreements, it is planned to build 12 nuclear power plant units in India over 20 years using advanced Russian technologies.
We discussed matters of deepening industrial and investment cooperation, specifically in machine-building, metals, agriculture, medicine, pharmaceuticals and bio-chemical technology. We believe there are good prospects for cooperation on major infrastructure projects. In particular, Russian Railways is ready to join the project to build modern railways in India.
The participants agreed that Russia would help Indian partners in space exploration. Roscosmos is planning to take part in elaborating the Indian national programme to launch a manned spaceship.
Naturally, we discussed in detail the prospects for military-technical cooperation (MTC). Russia and India have cooperated successfully in this area for many decades. Our countries have developed genuinely close and mutually beneficial relations that are part and parcel of the Russian-Indian strategic partnership.
MTC cooperation is not limited to Russian arms’ supplies. Our countries have organised the joint development and production of modern military products. Our defence ministries and general staffs maintain regular contacts and work to enhance the combat readiness of our armed forces. In August, Indian units were involved for the first time in the Peace Mission 2018 counter-terrorist exercises on Russian territory. Indian service members take an active part in the International Army Games, the tank biathlon and competitions of the alpine special troops.
By tradition, the talks focused on humanitarian cooperation. Russia and India have always been interested in each other’s culture and spiritual heritage. This is confirmed by the great success of the Indian Festival in Russia, which will last until March 22 and will span 22 cities. India will host a festival of Russian culture. I am sure these events will bring our nations even closer together.
Nearly 10,000 Indian students are studying in Russia. Every year Indian citizens receive about 100 scholarships. India is a popular destination for Russian tourists. About 220,000 Russians visited India in 2017 and we received 94,000 Indians in Russia.
Discussing international issues, we reaffirmed that Russia and India have identical or similar positions on key global problems. In this context, we agreed to enhance our cooperation at international venues, in particular, the UN, BRICS, the SCO and the G20.
We will be also closely working to enhance security and cooperation in Asia and countering together such modern challenges and threats as international terrorism, drug trafficking and cross-border crime. In this context, we discussed the economic recovery and stable political development of Afghanistan, and exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East. I told the Prime Minister about the developments in Syria. We also discussed the situation that was triggered by the US unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear programme.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Prime Minister and all our Indian friends and colleagues for meaningful and constructive talks. I am convinced that their results will facilitate the further development of the Russian-Indian strategic partnership and consolidation of friendship between our nations.
As I have already said, Mr Prime Minster and I will meet with representatives of the business community and talented Indian children and their peers from the Russian educational centre Sirius, who are visiting India at the invitation of Mr Modi. I will also meet with the President of the Republic of India.
The Prime Minister suggested several other humanitarian initiatives: resuming the publication of Russian and Indian books and establishing new areas of humanitarian cooperation. I consider this very important. Naturally, we will support this because humanitarian cooperation and direct human contacts are bound to promote friendship between the peoples of India and the Russian Federation.
India and Russia have a track record of close cooperation in a number of areas. I am delighted to have this opportunity to take part in the Russian-Indian Business Summit that will bring together some 200 business leaders from both countries.
India and Russia also cooperate closely in all areas of mutual interest. President Putin and I talked about this at length today.
India and Russia believe in strengthening the multipolar world order and multilateralism in this rapidly changing world. This meets the interests of both our countries. Together, we can fight terrorism and seek a solution to the situation in Afghanistan and climate change, as well as promote cooperation within the regional frameworks, for example, the SCO, as well as multilateral organisations such as ASEAN and the G20.
As for international organisations, we must continue our mutually beneficial cooperation and further coordinate our initiatives.
We were truly impressed by the steps undertaken by President Putin to develop Russia’s Far East. India stands ready to work with Russia to develop this region. The decisions we adopted today will enable us to step up our cooperation, making a contribution to restoring peace and stability across the world with all its challenges.