Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Moscow visit to begin on Sunday

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New Delhi, Dec.5 (ANI): Prime Minister will be in Moscow for the Annual Summit Meeting with the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday.

It will be Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's second visit to Russia this year. He visited Yekaterinburg in the Russian Federation in June for his first visit abroad after the formation of the new Government to participate in the BRIC (Brazil Russia India China) and SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) Summits.

"Our ties with the Russian Federation are historic, close and uniquely enduring. These ties are based on a strong national consensus in both countries that has cut across ideologies or political conditions. Our bilateral relationship has been re-energized with the declaration of a Strategic Partnership between our two countries during the visit to India in 2000 by the then President Putin. Since then, our partnership has diversified enormously and you can see that today the relationship is a uniquely strong and expanding one, particularly in the fields of defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, space research and science and technology," said Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.

"We are now working to stimulate our relations in the field of bilateral trade and investment. We, in India, consider Russia to be an old and valued friend which is at the same time a country with a huge untapped potential for increasing our bilateral engagement. The warmth and desire for deepening engagement, we feel, is strongly reciprocated on the Russian side," said Rao while reminding journalists that the "Prime Minister recently said that during his visit to Russia and in discussions with President Medvedev, we propose to discuss steps to raise our strategic partnership to the next level," Rao said.

Outlining the programme Rao said: "Upon arrival tomorrow, PM will have dinner with President Medvedev at his dacha, where the two leaders will get a chance to have an informal conversation before the formal proceedings at the Kremlin begin. On Monday, PM will be meeting President Medvedev for a restricted format meeting as well as for delegation level talks, when a whole range of bilateral, regional and global issues will be discussed."

PM will also be holding wide-ranging discussions with Prime Minister Putin. The two Prime Ministers will together be attending the closing ceremony of the 'Year of India' celebrations in Russia.

"Prime Minister Singh along with Prime Minister Putin, will also address the CEOs Council, which will hold its first full-fledged meeting since it was conceived in 2008. This Council comprises CEOs of some of the biggest and most important companies in India and Russia, and is aimed at stimulating further engagement between the private sectors of the two countries," Rao informed.

Prime Minister is also scheduled to attend a meeting of Indologists where Russians scholars and academics with an informed interest in India will be presenting their views on the civilizational engagement between India and the Russian Federation.

Rao said that the last few months have seen a very intensive bilateral engagement with the Russian Federation.

Beginning with the State visit of President Patil in September 2009, we have had visits by Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to the Russian Federation in the months of October and November 2009, when diverse aspects of the bilateral relationship have been reviewed and the path ahead has been charted out, the Foreign Secretary informed.

"We have also hosted the Ninth Trilateral Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of India, Russia and China in Bengaluru on 27 October 2009, when we had an exchange of views on various issues in a trilateral format," Rao said.

"We hosted the Russian Deputy PM Sobyanin in November and I had detailed Foreign Office level consultations last month with my counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Denisov. The Annual Summit Meeting is of course the most important event in our annual calendar and we see it as the principle vehicle to take forward the Strategic Partnership with Russia," Rao added.

Moreover, Dr. Singh will be accompanied by Dr. Karan Singh, President of ICCR, National Security Adviser and officials of the Ministries with the most intense engagement with the Russian side. Several captains of industry will be in Moscow to participate in the CEOs Council which will be co-chaired on the Indian side by Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries. (ANI)

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