RUSSIA-INDIA ‘A STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP’ says President Putin

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FOLLOWING Russian-Indian talks on 11 December 2014 in New Delhi, President Putin made the following statement.

‘Mr Prime Minister has mentioned that in 2000 he was part of an Indian delegation to Russia.

‘I would like to note that this was the first time we met, and I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue our cooperation now that he occupies the post of India’s Prime Minister.

‘Today we had very substantive and constructive talks covering the entire range of Russian-Indian ties.

‘I would like to note here that we are highly satisfied with this visit and its results. We exchanged views on key international and regional issues.

‘A consistent strengthening of cooperation with our friends in India is definitely a foreign policy priority for Russia.

‘Our bilateral relations have already reached the level of a privileged strategic partnership and continue developing dynamically.

‘This morning we considered the main directions of our further broad cooperation, and they are all reflected in our joint statement.

‘We intend to enhance our political dialogue, strengthen our business ties and cooperation in science and technology and promote the humanitarian contacts that have developed between our peoples over decades.

‘During our meeting, we paid special attention to trade and economic issues. By the end of 2013, our trade turnover reached $10 billion, but we believe – and it is obvious – that this is absolutely insufficient.

‘We had a detailed discussion of the practical measures required to diversify our mutual trade and further enhance investment; we agreed to stimulate companies in both countries to activate joint work and to speed up the transition to the use of national currencies in mutual settlements.

‘New prospects will open up for Russian-Indian cooperation with the launch on 1 January 2015 of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

‘Mr Prime Minister has just mentioned the possibility of establishing special relations between India and the EEU. We agreed to continue consultations on a free trade zone agreement.

‘We have also agreed to be more active in supporting joint high-tech, industrial and research projects. We will assist in creating an Indian mobile operator.

‘We are interested in the Indian initiative to build a Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor that envisages the creation of an up-to-date infrastructure and innovative facilities.

‘A bulldozer equipment assembly line will soon reach design capacity. In 2016, with the assistance of the Russian company Sibur Holding, we will complete the construction of one of the world’s largest butyl rubber producing plants in Mr Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

‘We in turn intend to promote the participation of Indian companies in the creation of industrial parks on the territory of the Russian Federation, in the development of the pharmaceutical industry, in fertiliser production and in the coal indus! try.

‘We are offering our Indian partners the produce of our civil aviation industry, specifically Sukhoi Superjet-100 and MC-21 airplanes.

‘We are ready to cooperate in peaceful space exploration, specifically in the development of close-orbit satellites and the use of the GLONASS satellite navigation system.

‘I would like to single out great prospects for our energy cooperation. This is something Mr Modi has also mentioned.

‘With Russia’s assistance, the construction of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Station is proceeding on schedule. The first unit has already been commissioned and soon we are planning to launch the construction of the second unit.

‘We have just signed a document of great significance – the strategic vision for strengthening Indian-Russian cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power.

‘It contains plans to build over 20 nuclear power units in India, as well as cooperation in building Russia-designed nuclear power stations in third countries, in the joint extraction of natural uranium, production of nuclear fuel and waste elimination. This will lay the foundation for our long-term mutually beneficial cooperation in the nuclear sector.

‘I would like to stress that here we have reached a new level of cooperation. This is not merely trade in goods and services, or even technologies, but the creation of a new industry in India.

‘In the oil and gas industry, our major companies Rosneft and Gazprom together with their Indian colleagues are working on projects to develop the Russian Arctic shelf and expand the shipments of liquefied natural gas.

‘Russia and India have long been closely cooperating in military technology. This does not imply only supplying produce, we have reached a new level of close cooperation in production. The implementation of the BrahMos rocket programme is a vivid example of such cooperation.

‘I would also like to note that projects to jointly develop a multi-purpose fighter aircraft and a multi-role transport plane is another step in our joint work.

‘Our two countries have developed a good tradition in humanitarian ties. Thus, last year 11 Russian cities hosted festivals of Indian culture, while this year we are holding a festival of Russian culture in India.

‘We have agreed to provide further state support to public, sports and tourist exchanges between our citizens.

‘International issues were prominent in our talks. Our approaches to key global and regional issues either coincide or are very close.

‘We support joint efforts to achieve settlement in Syria and Iraq, to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan and to create a new security and cooperation structure in Asia.

‘We intend to continue our close coordination within the UN, BRICS, the SCO and other organisations. In these difficult times, there is a greater need for our joint efforts within these international forums than ever before.

‘Apart from talks with Mr Modi, our agenda in India includes other important events, such as a meeting with the President of India and a meeting with the president of the Indian National Congress Party.

‘Besides, together with the Indian Prime Minister we will hold a discussion with Indian and Russian business representatives and will take part in the opening of the World Diamond Conference.

‘Mr Modi has already said that this is also an important area of cooperation, considering the fact that the Russian company Alrosa is currently the largest diamond producer in the world, while India is the leading country in diamond processing.

‘I am certain that such an intense agenda will help give an impetus to the further strengthening of diversified relations between our two countries.

‘Of course, we do have some problems we have been working on that are of mutual interest in terms of the two countries’ security, including combating organised crime, terrorism and drug trafficking.

‘In conclusion, I would like to stress that we highly value our friendship, trust and mutual understanding with India. We will make every effort to develop the Russian-Indian partnership for the benefit of our two great nations.

‘I am grateful to Mr Prime Minister and to all our Indian colleagues for the traditional warm welcome and truly friendly hospitality. Thank you for your attention.’

Meanwhile, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Rogozin has said that Russia has signed a licence-production deal with India on 11 December for Mi-17 and Ka-226T helicopters.

The deal was signed during the visit to Delhi by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, following talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

‘There are two contracts. One, for the Mi-17, which India really needs, and the second for the Ka-226T.

‘This is a big contract for assembly on the territory of India,’ Rogozin said, adding that up to 400 of the Kamov helicopters a year could be built. The helicopters will be built in naval and mountain variants, he said.

Rogozin recalled that Russia had won the tender in the face of competition from Eurocopter.

Earlier on 11 December, following the talks with President Putin, India’s Prime Minister Modi said Russia had ‘offered full production in India of one of the most modern, improved helicopters and also the possibility of exporting it from India’.

Russian oil company Rosneft signed a contract with India’s Essar to deliver 10 million tonnes of oil per year to India for 10 years during the Putin visit.

The deliveries will be made by sea and could come from various parts of Russia, including the Far East, or via the Black Sea or the Baltic Sea, according to Rosneft’s head Igor Sechin.

India currently uses about 300 million tonnes of oil per year but produces only 40 million tonnes per year, Sechin said.

Russia produces about 520 million tonnes per year, he added. ‘We have the opportunity to ensure India’s energy security,’ Sechin said.

The shareholders of Dalnevostochnyy LNG (Sakhalin) have also agreed on the conditions for Indian company ONGC’s participation in the project to build an LNG plant, Sechin said.

‘ONGC asked us about joining this project. We and the participants in this project agreed on the possibility of them joining and do not see any big obstacles,’ Sechin added.

• Russia is developing laser weapons in parallel with the United States, the former head of the General Staff, Yuriy Baluyevskiy said on 11 December.

Baluyevskiy was commenting on the statement made the previous day by the head of US naval research, Admiral Matthew Klunder, that testing of laser weapons mounted on ships had ‘exceeded all expectations’.

‘I can say only this; development of military technology and creation of modern examples of modern effective weapons is going ahead roughly in parallel with all states which have the capability for such development,’ he said.

For his part, Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko said: ‘Russia is also developing equivalent inventions, however, here they are considering developing and producing air-based lasers.

‘Of course, such work demands a concentration of financial resources, but carrying it out is essential in order to support future parity with developments in the United States.’

Russia has the necessary scientific and engineering potential for such work, he said.

‘Work on domestic laser weapons is proceeding without dependence on import of systems, parts and components,’ he said.

America’s testing of laser weapons is aimed at the creation of short-range air defence systems, said Aleksandr Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis. Currently, short-range air defence is the only realistic role for use of military lasers, he said.

‘Today, it’s more or less clear that using lasers in other combat conditions is not workable, because there has not yet been success in working out the problems of energy and beam diffusion at long distances,’ he said.