India, Russia signs long pending deals

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New Delhi, Mar 12(ANI): India and Russia on Friday finalized several important and long pending defence cooperation projects during a day-long visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to New Delhi.

Addressing the joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said: "We have signed the Inter-Governmental Agreement on Cooperation in Atomic Energy and agreed upon a roadmap for construction of nuclear power plants."

"A Memorandum of Understanding for bilateral cooperation in Russia's satellite navigation system has been agreed upon," he added.

During his visit Prime Minister Putin held a series of meetings with Indian leadership, including President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and discussed comprehensive and had in-depth discussions on bilateral, regional and global matters.

Dr Singh described relations with Russia as key pillars of Indian foreign policy, and reiterated that India regards Russia as a trusted and reliable strategic partner.

"Prime Minister Putin has been the architect of the strategic partnership between India and Russia, and we owe a deep sense of gratitude to him for bringing our two countries so close to each other," Dr. Singh said.

"Ours is a relationship that not only stands independent of any other, but whose significance has grown over time. Our partnership covers areas such as defence, civil nuclear energy, space, science and technology, hydrocarbons and trade and investment," he added.

Prime Minister Singh further said both countries agreed to strengthen our cooperation in hydrocarbons through greater collaboration between oil and gas, information technology, and other fields.

"Agreements have been signed in the areas of fertilisers and pharmaceuticals. We have identified information technology and telecommunications as focus areas for our future economic cooperation," he said.

Dr. Singh also opined that the outcomes of Prime Minister Putin's visit were rich and very substantive.

"We had a detailed discussion on regional and global issues. There is much that India and Russia can do together to advance global peace and stability and the process of global economic revival," he said.

"We have agreed to intensify our consultations on Afghanistan and the challenges posed by terrorism and extremism in our region," Dr. Singh added.

Prime Minister Singh informed that the discussions with Prime Minister Putin have reinforced the strong ties of friendship that bind the two countries. (ANI)

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