Russia has been a pillar of strength at difficult moments in India’s history and India-Russia ties “will not be affected by winds of transient global political trends”, President Pranab Mukherjee said here on Friday.
Delivering the keynote address at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian ministry of foreign affairs after receiving an honorary doctorate from it, Mukherjee said that “India will always reciprocate” the support it has received from Russia.
“Across Indian society and the spectrum of its political structures, there is unanimity that friendship with Russia is an important pillar of India’s foreign policy,” he added.
Mukherjee, who is on a five-day visit to Russia, said the “dynamic development” of the strategic partnership owed a great deal to the vision and leadership of President Vladimir Putin.
“His personal commitment has led us to new heights in our relations. We recognize President Putin as a great friend of India. I look forward to renewing my association with him on this visit,” the president said.
Mukherjee, who is to attend the Victory Day commemoration on Saturday, said that India-Russia ties are unique and multi-dimensional and have proved their resilience.
“India and Russia today enjoy what we have termed a ‘special and privileged strategic partnership’, based on unmatched mutual confidence, trust and goodwill”.
He said the annual bilateral summits “are at the apex of an elaborate multi-layered mechanism for bilateral interaction, more detailed than India has with any country in the world”.
“India values her close and extensive cooperation with Russia in defence, nuclear energy and security. Russia is and will remain our most important defence partner. It is also a key partner for our energy security, building on its leading role in the development of nuclear power generation in India,” he said and added that their cooperation in the hydrocarbons sector can become the driver of a resurgent economic partnership.
He said both sides had agreed during Putin’s visit to India in December 2014 to boost trade and economic ties to a higher level.
“We must build on synergies in areas such as engineering, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, fertilizers, coal, diamonds, metallurgy, civil aircraft, automobiles, and information and communication technology.”
Mukherjee said though the world has become increasingly multi-polar and emerging economies have grown in strength, this was not fully reflected in international institutions and decision-making processes.
“Cooperation between India and Russia in multilateral fora, including G20 and BRICS is thus of great importance”.
He congratulated Russia on its presidency of the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization this year.
“We will work closely with our Russian friends to enhance multi-sectoral cooperation within these fora. We appreciate Russia’s support for India’s permanent membership of UN Security Council and membership of the multi-lateral export control regimes,” he said.
“We applaud Russia’s efforts to promote a political settlement in Syria and its contribution towards a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue,” Mukherjee said.