Pratibha Patil congratulates Russian President

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New Delhi, May 08 (UNI) President Pratibha Patil today congratulated Mr Dmitri Medvedev on his assuming office as Russia's President and said India looked forward to his support and advice for further deepening and broadening the strategic relationship between the two countries.

In a message Mrs Patil said India and Russia enjoyed long-standing and time-tested ties of friendship and cooperation extending a wide range of areas.

''We would look forward to your support and advice to further broaden and deepen the strategic partnership between our two countries,'' she said.

Hoping that Mr Medvedev would come to India later this year, Mrs Patil said this year, the 'Year of Russia in India' would be marked by events in various facets of life.

''It would be our honour and pleasure to receive you in India later this year,'' Mrs Patil said.

Mr Dmitri Medvedev, the chosen successor of outgoing President Vladimir Putin, was yesterday officially sworn in as Russia's third President since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Mr Medvedev took oath of office in an elaborate and lavish ceremony in the Kremlin's golden-hued St Andrew's Hall, bringing to an end Mr Putin's eight years as President.

After taking oath Mr Medvedev said he attached special importance to ''the fundamental role of law.'' Earlier, before handing over power to Mr Medvedev, Mr Putin made a brief speech describing the transfer of power as ''a hugely important stage'' for Russia.

He also urged Medvedev to continue the policies he had been implementing for the last eight years, saying they proved to be ''the correct ones.'' Mr Medvedev, 42, won a landslide victory in the March two Presidential elections and the inauguration capped his sharp ascendance from obscurity.

UNI RB MSJ BD1650

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