PM reaffirms commitment to bilateral ties with Russia

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Moscow, Nov 11 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today declared that India was committed to further deepen its strategic relationship with Russia in diverse fields like trade and investment, defence, energy security and space, dismissing suggestions of a diplomatic ''chill'' in bilateral relations.

''During a meeting wih President Vladimir Putin, I will convey to him the high priority that India attaches to its partnership with Russia and the benefits that the partnership has brought to our two people'' Dr Singh, who arrived here to a red carpet welcome on a two-day official visit, said in a statement.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by a high-level delegation which includes National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon and Mr T K A Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Mr M K Narayanan rejected suggestions that Moscow was cold shouldering India, while talking to reporters on board Prime Minister's special Air India aircraft.

''To say there is a chill is far fetched,'' Mr Narayanan said.

''Russia has been our time-tested friend and this is evident from the importance the two countries attach to bilateral relations,'' he added.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence that his visit would lead to a reaffirmation of the joint endeavour of the two countries towards creating greater peace, prosperity and stability in the world.

He said the bilateral annual summits between India and Russia had helped consolidation of relations between the two countries.

''India-Russia strategic partnership is an enduring bond of friendship which has taken strong historical roots. Our relationship has traditionally been of stability, peace in the region and beyond.'' He said he was convinced that the strong fundamentals of mutual trust and shared world view on regional and global issues will continue to bring the two countries closer together in a dynamic international environment. ''Our multifaceted bilateral cooperation with Russia is based on longterm interest.'' Recalling establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Russia 60 years back, Dr Singh said as ''we rejoice in our joint accomplishments during six decades of unbroken friendship, we also stand committed to further deepen our partnership in the field of trade and investment, defence, energy security, science and technology, space and other areas of mutual benefit.'' UNI

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