PM to visit Russia on November 11-12

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New Delhi, Nov 6 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will pay a two-day visit to Russia on November 11 and 12 at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which the two sides are expected to conclude several bilateral documents aimed at taking their relationship to a new high.

The visit was announced through simultaneous statements issued here and in Moscow today.

A statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said the visit would be in continuation of annual summit meetings between India and Russia institutionalised since the first visit of Mr Putin as President to India in October 2000.

The last summit was held in New Delhi during President Putin's visit on January 25-26 this year, when he had also participated as Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

Since then, a series of high-level visits have taken place between the two countries to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various areas.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee led an Minter-Ministerial delegation to Moscow on October 11-13 for the 13th Session of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological&Cultural Cooperation.

The Commission, which was co-Chaired on the Russian side by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, reviewed the work of the five Working Groups on Trade&Economy, Mines&Metallurgy, Energy, Technology and Tourism&Culture.

Earlier in July 2007, a Joint Study Group co-Chaired by the Commerce Secretary finalized its report on increasing bilateral trade to 10 billion dollars by 2010.

The statement said there was ongoing dialogue and exchange of views between the two governments on various issues of mutual interest.

Mr Mukherjee had met the Russian Foreign Minister on October 24 in Harbin (China) on the sidelines of the India-Russia-China Trilateral Foreign Ministers Meeting and earlier August one in Manila on the sidelines of the ARF/EAS meetings.

The two Foreign Ministers also participated in BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) Foreign Ministers Meeting in New York on September 24 and India-Russia-China Trilateral Foreign Ministers Meeting in New Delhi in February this year.

National Security Adviser M K Narayanan paid a visit to Russia in August and the Acting Secretary of the Russian ecurity Council, Mr Valentin Sobolev, visited India last week.

Defence Minister A K Antony visited Russia last month for the 7th Session of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation, which was co-Chaired by the Russian Defence Minister, Mr. Anatoly Serdyukov. During the visit, the two countries signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Development and Production of Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft.

This year, the Integrated Long Term Programme for Scientific&Technological Cooperation (ILTP) between India and Russia has completed 20 years of fruitful work.

A Joint Council of the ILTP, which was co-Chaired by the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Prof. C N R Rao, was held in Moscow last month.

During the meeting, the two sides concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on the setting up of three new joint centres of excellence on non-ferrous&rare metals, bio-medical technology and accelerators&lasers. There is ongoing cooperation in the space sector in terms of implementation of various inter-Governmental agreements under an umbrella agreement on cooperation in outer space for peaceful purposes signed in December 2004.

Dr Karan Singh, President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations had also visited Russia last month to discuss preparations for the 'Year of Russia' in India in 2008.

Earlier, during the visit of President Putin to India in January, the two sides had signed a Protocol on holding 'Year of Russia' in India in 2008 and 'Year of India' in Russia in 2009. The 'Year of Russia' will be inaugurated in early 2008 and the year-long programme will include exhibitions, trade fairs, seminars, book fair, film festivals, industry interactions, fashion&food events and various cultural performances.

This year, the two countries are also commemorating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries (April 13). In this regard, a Plan of Major Events adopted during President Putin's visit to India in January 2007 is being implemented, the statement added.


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