Vladimir Putin: Russia is ready to contribute to settlement of Indian-Pakistani conflict

Vladimir Putin has said Russia is ready to contribute to the settlement of the Indo-Pakistani conflict. The Russian president, when opening a meeting in Almaty with India's Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said that if Russia could help in any way, it was ready to make a contribution to the settlement of the problem.

At the same time the head of state noted that Russia's assumption is that both countries -- India and Pakistan -- must do all they can to resolve the conflict.

Putin remarked that Russia "is perfectly aware of the roots of the conflict, and understands the problems related to terrorism and everything that goes with it." Putin said that he had just had a conversation with Pakistan's president. "He gave what I think is a serious and positive signal," Putin noted, adding that he "will gladly" tell Vajpayee about it.

The Russian president said that he would like to exchange opinions with the Indian prime minister concerning possible development of the situation.

Putin stated that relations between Russia and India are developing "in a very positive way". According to him, this concerns economic and political coordination, and cooperation in international organisations. The Russian leader also pointed to the growing joint activity of the two parliaments.

"It is very gratifying to note that our dialogue at all levels of state interaction is going on uninterrupted," the Russian president said. "We can always exchange views in writing or by telephone and often do so," Putin said, addressing Vajpayee.

The Indian premier in his turn said that the people of India "are looking eagerly" to a visit by the Russian leader to India in December.

Vajpayee thanked the Russian president for his position on the fight against terrorism.