Medvedev for strengthening 'equitable' bilateral relation with India

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Moscow, Mar 3 (UNI) President-elect Dmitry Medvedev has always stood for strengthening the all-round 'equitable' bilateral relations between India and Russia, knowledgeable sources said here.

''It is good for Russia-India relations that two India-friendly leaders, Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, will be at the helm of bilateral relations between the two countries,'' they said.

''It is clear from Mr Medvedev's statement after winning a landslide victory in the presidential election that he would continue to follow incumbent president Vladimir Putin's policy in domestic and foreign affairs,'' they pointed out.

The sources who preferred not to be named, said Mr Medvedev has always held the view that in bilateral relations, India and Russia should ''always try to meet half way,'' in order to make a sustained development of relations between the two countries, in all fields, including nuclear energy cooperation.

''In this perspective, Mr Medvedev as president promising to work in 'effective tandem' with Mr Putin as Prime Minister, in future augurs well for Russia-India relations,'' they noted.

Mr Medvedev, a long time friend of Mr Putin since St Petersburg days has vowed to continue the political and economic course set by the incumbent president.

Both Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev graduated from the same law school of St Petersburg Leningrad State University and have been known to each other for 17 years.

The two leaders were professionally trained at the University in St Petersburg under the liberal democrat Anatoly Sobchak, who later became city's mayor.

It was Mr Sobchak who brought them together in the city hall, where Mr Medvedev served as a legal consultant to the committee for foreign affairs, which was headed by Mr Putin.

In 1999, the incumbent president brought the new president elect to Moscow after Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly handed over power to him.

Mr Medvedev joined Mr Putin's staff and headed his election campaign in 2000. Later Mr Putin appointed him first deputy prime minister in charge of a number key national projects, including health care, education, housing and agriculture.

A lawyer by profession, Mr Medvedev, 42, is described by his colleagues in government as a liberal, competent and pragmatic person. The new president elect may pay his first-ever visit to India later this year for bilateral regular annual summit at the highest level.

UNI XC RJ BD1902

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