Russian MPs want Indo-Russian ties upgraded to pre-Soviet era

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) With the new President in Moscow set to take over, Russian Parliamentarians are keen to upgrade their country's ties with India to the level of Soviet era and want the two countries to be as close as India is now to the US.

A group of five young Russian Parliametarians, currently on a visit to India, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with their compatriots from India on forging closer cooperation between the young Parliamentarians of the two coutries for tackling emerging global issues including climate change, cultural cooperation, student exchange etc.

''Every country has its own compulsions. We are also having relations with the US...We must bring it (Indo-Russia ties) to the level we had in the Soviet times. We are looking to have very high level of relations with India,'' said Mr Viktor Nefedov, leader of the five-memer delegation and a member of the State Duma Committee on Science and Technology.

The MPs--Members of the State Duma Committee--who witnessed proceedings in both the Houses of the Indian Parliament today, said they were impressed with the way questions were directly addressed to Ministers by the members, which was not the case with Russia.

The MPs--Pavel Tarakanov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Youth Issues, Ms Elena Afanasyeva, State Duma Committee Member on Family, Women and Children's Issues, Sergei Pekpeyev, Member on Federal Issues and Regional Policy and Ms T Voronova, Member for Foreign Affairs--were addressing a joint press conference after witnessing the Indian Parliametary proceedings.

''In Russia, the Minister is called once specially for answerng questions on one day. But in India, the questions were directly addressed to the Ministers,'' Mr Viktor said.

Mr Nefedov said they were impressed by the Indian Parliamentary proceedings and wanted to implement it back home.

The delegation witnessed the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha when Home Minister Shivraj Patil was replying to questions on Indo-Bangladesh border. They later went to the Lok Sabha.

The MPs are also scheduled to meet Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and learn about Indian Pariamentary procedures.

They said they had a Young Parliamentarians group with Japan and wanted a similar arrangement with India.

To a question on whether President Vladimir Putin's becoming Prime Minister in the new government would not undermine his position and whether he could not amend the Constitution to secure a third term for himself, the Parliametarians disclosed that suggestions were made to Mr Putin to amend the Constitution.

Mr Nefedov, however, said he was bound by the country's law and did not want to change the Constitution.

UNI RB AKJ GC1718

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