Indian Prez wants stronger Russian connection

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Pratibha Patil
Moscow, Sep 3: Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on her Russia visit expressed her interest regarding the growth of bilateral trade ties with Russia.

While addressing a gathering of expatriate Indians and some prominent Russians during the course of her five-day visit, Patil said, the only area where India-Russia relationship is lagging is in the field of bilateral economic cooperation.

"When I look at our relationship, if there is anywhere I feel we are lagging behind, it is in the field of bilateral economic cooperation," said Patil.

"For two economies with GDP's of this size, economic structures that only point to our strong complementarities, close political ties, at all levels of government and strong desire of political leadership of both the sides to foster closer ties, India-Russia bilateral trade and investment ties remain much too modest."

Patil said, "All of you have been working in some capacity or the other with India-Russia collaborators projects. It is your work that has provided the building blocks to the India-Russia strategic partnership."

Reportedly, Russia is keen to double the trade with India to 10 billion dollars by 2010 and cement Indo-Russian relations despite trade with India lagging far behind Moscow's economic ties with the European Union and China.

Russia sees India, a staunch ally of the erstwhile Soviet Union during the Cold War era, as an important partner to expand Russian influence in Asia, though Moscow and New Delhi have bickered over delays in the delivery of Russian military hardware.

Russia is helping to set up two 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors at Kudankulam as part of a deal signed in 1988. In 2008, Russia proposed to build four more reactors at the site.

ANI

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