The Joint Declaration that Russia and India are about to sign convincingly demonstrates the similarity of positions Russia and India hold on the topical problem of the anti-terrorist struggle, announced Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin as he opened Russian-Indian talks in an extended format. "Strategic partnership between Russia and India is a real and important factor of international politics," stressed Putin. According to the president, the struggle against terrorism was the centrepiece of his tete-a-tete talks with Indian Premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Touching on the subjects the sides intend to bring up during the talks in an extended format, he proposed to focus on economic problems. On his part, the Indian prime minister noted that close friendship with Russia was one of India's foreign-policy priorities. According to his words, annual summit meetings help the sides raise their relationship "to a good level." Those present at the talks from the Russian side include Vice Premier Ilya Klebanov, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref, Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev, and Rosoboronexport chief Andrei Belyaninov.
Russian President Vladimir Putin would never fall to the level of personal insults, Kremlin official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said