Putin Votes For Adding Richer Contents To Russian-Indian Relations

Asked by RIA, Vladimir Putin has declared in favour of adding richer contents to Russian-Indian relations. Referring to last year's Declaration on strategic partnership between Russia and India, he said "we have committed to paper what has long shaped up in bilateral relations". "But such relations as those between Russia and India cannot be born on paper, no matter how beautiful it looks-it is the interests we share that give rise to them," continued Putin. He described the past Russian-Indian relations as very fruitful ones, with a number of documents consolidating the legal basis and cooperation were signed. Dealing with bilateral trade and economic ties, the president welcomed the Indian prime minister's statement about the erroneous nature of the former decision to classify Russia as a non-market economy and that this is to be changed before the end of the year. Fields to offer wide prospects for cooperation are the energy industry (nuclear power and hydro engineering, gas, oil) as well and machine-building, he continued. The latter is to include retooling of those enterprises which were built in India with Soviet assistance as well as the implementation of brand-new projects. It was also mentioned that Russian and Indian partners should display more flexibility and look for "more opportunities" for cooperation, including the sphere of financial settlements. Another avenue of trade, that is in military technology which is under special control of the Russian and Indian government, has been named as very promising. For his part, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was curious to learn from the Russian president the figures he had never heard of. He said the statistics were a surprise to him and he would be now better prepared for the discussion of bilateral trade and economic relations. The prime minister spoke highly of the talks held, specifying that strategic partnership between Russia and Indian was already a reality.

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