PM optimistic on ties with Russia despite diplomatic chill

PM optimistic on ties with Russia despite diplomatic chill


Moscow: Amid the diplomatic chill in bilateral ties, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set a positive tone ahead of his two-day visit, saying Russia enjoyed a “special and unique" place in India’s foreign policy and the “time-tested" relationship was based on “deep mutual trust".

Singh, who arrived in Russia today, in an interview to government agency RIA Novosti expressed optimism on the future of the strategic partnership between the two countries. “Indo-Russian relations will grow to greater heights," he said.

Some jarring notes and reported protocol breaches at this end had led to media speculation about the absence of bonhomie in bilateral ties in recent times.

“Not everything is smooth in the mood prevailing at the moment, but I would not give it any serious importance," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS earlier this week.

His comments that the level of cooperation between Russia and India is “normal" also triggered different interpretation, one being a possible cooling of ties.

During External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit here last month, a customary meeting with President Vladimir Putin did not materialize and neither could he have a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

However, Mukherjee and Lavorov did meet in Harbin, China last month on the sidelines of the trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia.