“This is the eighth annual summit between India and Russia and my fourth visit to Russia as Prime Minister. I am truly delighted to be back in your beautiful country. Let me thank you, Mr. President, for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to me and my delegation.

I am extremely satisfied with my discussions with President Putin. They were characterized by warmth, cordiality and unanimity on all issues of mutual interest. There has been substantial forward movement on many of the issues that we had discussed at our last Summit in January. We held wide-ranging discussions and identified areas for further cooperation between our two countries.

I also had a useful and productive exchange of views with Prime Minister Zubkov.

We discussed ways to substantially upgrade our economic ties, which should form the bedrock of our strategic partnership. We agreed that there are enormous opportunities for collaboration.

We discussed the recommendations made by the Joint Study Group and the establishment of a Joint Task Force to implement them.

I am happy that we have been able to satisfactorily resolve the long pending issue of the utilization of the rupee debt fund. We also agreed to redouble our efforts to achieve a bilateral trade target of 10 billion US dollars by 2010.

I will be meeting the captains of Russian industry and a high-level Indian business delegation later in the evening. I will urge them to invest more in this relationship.

High technology is an area of great promise. Our cooperation is symbolized by the agreement on Chandrayan II, which will include a joint mission to the Moon involving an orbiter, a lander and a rover to carry out scientific studies.

We continued our dialogue on energy. I thanked the President for Russia’s steadfast support in supplementing our nuclear energy programme, and its assistance in lifting international restrictions on nuclear cooperation with India that are still in place.

Defence cooperation is one of the pillars of our strategic partnership. Our decision on the co-development and co-production of the Fifth Generation Fighter and the Multi-role Transport Aircraft are major steps forward.

We had a constructive discussion on regional and global issues. There is a mutuality and convergence in our interests. We highly value Russia’s role in international affairs and its global leadership on key issues.

Our two countries are preparing enthusiastically for the “Year of Russia in India” in 2008 and “Year of India in Russia” in 2009. We wish to showcase the new Russia in India and the new India in Russia. I have invited both the President Putin and the Prime Minister Zubkov to India.

Ours is a strategic partnership that has stood the test of time. Through our discussions today we have consolidated and strengthened our engagement in different areas. I am very satisfied with the results of my visit.”

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