Indo-Russian partnership serves long-term interests: Shukla

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Moscow, Sep 24 (UNI) The strategic partnership between India and Russia has played a significant role in the special relationship between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1947, the new ambassador to Moscow Prabhat Shukla said.

Augumenting the long-term bilateral national intersts, Mr Shukla said, ''Our strategic partnership is based on mutual confidence and understanding and serves the long term national interests of both countries.'' He was talking to Russian news agencies ahead of his departure to Moscow to replace outgoing ambassador Kanwal Sibal who left here last week for India.

''There are convergences in the world views of the two countries and our multi-dimensional bilateral cooperation extends across a wide range of fields, including political, trade and economy, science and technology, culture, education, defence, energy and high technology including and space,'' he said.

Stressing that energy and defence cooperation were the two pillars of multifaceted bilateral cooperation, he said Indian investment in Sakhalin-I oil and gas project in Russia is one of ''our biggest investments in the energy sector abroad.'' ''Our partnership in the defence sector is more significant than just a buyer-seller relationship since it has progressed to joint development and production,'' Mr Shukla said citing the joint design, development and production of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile as a ''salient example of such cooperation.'' ''We are continuously striving to enhance cooperation in both these fields,'' Itar-tass news agency quoted him as saying referring to wide-rangeing defence and energy coopeation between the two countries.

On planned efforts to increase the bilateral trade turnover and improve economic cooperation, Mr Shukla said this would be his top priority.

''The business operators particularly business leaders in the two countries will have to play their role in this. As ambassador, I shall make this my top priority,'' he said.

Mr Shukla, an old hand in Moscow, is expected to arrive here on September 27.

''I am looking forward to returning to Russia. My family and I have had some memorable times in Moscow, and will be catching up with our old friends,'' he said.

UNI

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