With India and Russia enjoying robust strategic ties in critical sectors of defence, space and nuclear energy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said the future relations with its special and privileged partner will be in the economic sphere.
Manmohan Singh, who was returning home after a ‘very successful’ Moscow visit for a summit meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, told reporters on board his special aircraft that he was very satisfied with the results of the annual bilateral meeting held Friday and that the ‘depth and range’ of the relations was growing.
‘The depth and range of our relationship with Russia is growing. Our strong strategic partnership in nuclear energy, defence and space will, in future, be buttressed by a stronger economic relationship,’ he said, reflecting on his 36-hour whirlwind trip during which he also met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Putin mentioned to Manmohan Singh during their meeting Friday evening that the India-Russia cooperation was in over 400 projects.
The prime minister also noted that he and Medvedev met the CEOs of corporates from both countries and that ‘there are good prospects in pharmaceuticals, steel, diamonds and hydrocarbons’ to boost their bilateral economic partnership.
With Russia formally joining the World Trade Organisation while Manmohan Singh was in Moscow, the two sides have decided that an Indian study group will explore the possibility of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) with a three nation grouping comprising Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Similar views on increasing the economic cooperation and ramping it up to the level of traditional ties in defence, nuclear energy and space were stressed by Manmohan Singh at the CEOs’ meeting, where he also mentioned that the two sides had set a target to raise the trade volume to $20 billion by 2015.
During the daylong bilateral meetings with the two Russian leaders, the prime minister ‘felicitated and congratulated’ them on the successful outcome of the Russian Duma elections Dec 4.
‘I have just completed a very successful visit of Russia. I am very satisfied with the results of the annual summit with Russia, which we have just concluded. Our strategic partnership with Russia, which is special and privileged, is steadily forging forward,’ he added.
Manmohan Singh noted that the leaders of the two nations had met at ‘a time of turbulence’ in the world economy and ‘uncertainty’ in the international order.
‘We, therefore, discussed the political and economic situation in Asia and the world. We were both convinced that this complicated situation requires improvement and democratisation of processes of global governance,’ he said.
President Medvedev during the bilateral meeting, described India as ‘a strong contender’ for a permanent seat on the reformed United Nations Security Council.
‘Our views on current international issues, many of which are congruent, are expressed in the joint statement’ issued in Moscow, he added.
Manmohan Singh said 2011 had been ‘a year of active diplomacy’ for India with its immediate neighbours in the subcontinent, with major powers, and with the extended neighbourhood in South East Asia and West Asia.