New Delhi, Nov 6: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will embark on a two-day visit to Russia on November 11, during which several bilateral documents are expected to be signed.
The visit, which is coming at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, is in continuation of annual Summit meetings between India and Russia institutionalised since the first visit of Putin as President to India in October 2000.
The last Summit was held in New Delhi during Putin"s visit on January 25-26 this year, when he also participated as Chief Guest at our Republic Day celebrations. Since then, a series of high-level visits have taken place between the two countries to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various areas.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee led an inter-Ministerial delegation to Moscow on October 11-13 for the 13th Session of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation. The Commission, which was co-Chaired on the Russian side by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, reviewed the work of the five Working Groups – Trade and Economy, Mines and Metallurgy, Energy, Technology and Tourism and Culture. Earlier in July 2007, a Joint Study Group co-Chaired by the Commerce Secretary finalized its report on increasing bilateral trade to 10 billion dollars by 2010.
There is ongoing dialogue and exchange of views between the two governments on various issues of mutual interest. Mukherjee met his Russian counterpart on October 24 in Harbin (China) on the sidelines of India-Russia-China Trilateral Foreign Ministers Meeting and on August 1 in Manila on the sidelines of ARF/ EAS meetings.
The two Foreign Ministers also participated in BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) Foreign Ministers Meeting in New York on 24 September and India-Russia-China Trilateral Foreign Ministers Meeting in New Delhi on February 14, 2007. National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan paid a visit to Russia on August 27-28 and the Acting Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Valentin Sobolev visited India on October 28.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony also visited Russia on October 17-19 for the 7th Session of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation, which was co-Chaired by Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. During the visit, the two countries signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Development and Production of Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft.
This year, the Integrated Long Term Programme for Scientific and Technological Cooperation (ILTP) between India and Russia has completed 20 years of fruitful work. A Joint Council of the ILTP, which was co-Chaired by the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Prof. CNR Rao, was held in Moscow on October 11-12.
During the meeting, the two sides concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on the setting up of three new joint centres of excellence on non-ferrous and rare metals, bio-medical technology and accelerators and lasers. There is ongoing cooperation in the space sector in terms of implementation of various inter-Governmental agreements under an umbrella agreement on cooperation in outer space for peaceful purposes signed in December 2004.
Karan Singh, President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, visited Russia from October 7-10 to discuss preparations for the 'Year of Russia" in India in 2008.
Earlier, during the visit of Putin to India in January, the two sides had signed a Protocol on holding 'Year of Russia" in India in 2008 and 'Year of India" in Russia in 2009. The 'Year of Russia" will be inaugurated in early 2008 and the year-long programme will include exhibitions, trade fairs, seminars, book fair, film festivals, industry interactions, fashion and food events and various cultural performances.
In 2007, India and Russia will also commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries (13 April). In this regard, a Plan of Major Events adopted during Putin"s visit to India in January is being implemented.