Russia to cement strategic partnership with India: Putin

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Moscow, Jan 26 (UNI) In separate messages of greetings to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Republic Day, Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed confidence that strategic partnership and the traditional friendly relations between his country and India will deepen and strengthen further.

''This significant date in the history of India marks the foundation of a major political and socio-economic transformation,'' Mr Putin said in his message to Ms Patil.

''The successes your country has achieved since Independence have allowed it to become one of the leading members of the world community,'' the Kremlin Press Service quoted him as saying.

''We are in favour of further strengthening the traditionally friendly relations between Russia and India,'' he said, adding, ''intensive dialogue at all levels opens up new prospects for the development of multifaceted ties between the people of our two countries.'' ''I am confident, the success of the Year of Russia in India in 2008 and the Year of India in Russia in 2009 will further deepen the mutually beneficial Russian-Indian constructive cooperation,'' he noted.

''Since independence, your country has steadily moved along the path of progress and democracy. Strong economic growth, effective social policies and balanced foreign policy are traditional factors that ensure that India's prestige within the international community is consistently strengthened,'' the Russian President said in his message to Dr Singh.

He expressed confidence in further substantial expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation, and allowing this cooperation to take a new dimension.

''I am confident, our policy of comprehensive development and deepening our strategic partnership with India will continue,'' Mr Putin said.

UNI XC SR RN2052

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