India’s ties with third countries not at cost of Russia: PM

India’s ties with third countries not at cost of Russia: PM

Moscow: Seeking to take forward the strategic partnership to new heights, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today made it clear that India’s relations with third countries will never be at the cost of “time-tested ties" with Russia.

After a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the Kremlin which he described as “very productive", Singh said, “a stronger Russia is important for world peace."

Both India and Russia have a joint role to play to deal with regional and international issues, including steps for revival of global economy, terrorism and reforms of international institutions, Singh said in his opening remarks before the two sides got into delegation-level talks.

Noting that he was visiting Russia for the second time this year, the Prime Minister said this showed the importance attached by India in taking forward the bilateral relations in various spheres.

“Our relations with third countries will never be at the cost of our time-tested relationship with Russia," he said.

He said Indo-Russia strategic partnership is a “unique" partnership, firmly rooted in mutual interest and confidence and a shared vision of a multi-polar world.

In his remarks, the Russian President said the agreements finalised by the two countries reflected the strategic partnership of a “great variety".

Medvedev said both at the dinner yesterday at the countryside residence and this morning in a formal setting, he had discussed with Singh issues relating to enhancing the strategic partnership.

The Russian President noted that Indo-Russian trade has increased by eight per cent despite a global slowdown and said this augmented well for the improvement of bilateral ties in this area. Singh shared the sentiments of Medvedev on this issue.

At the private dinner last night, Singh assured his host that New Delhi still regards Moscow as its most important partner.

Singh began his Moscow schedule today with the laying of wreath at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier with eternal flame.

Medvedev is also hosting lunch in honour of Singh in the ornate Alexander Hall of the Kremlin palace.

During their informal talks last night, Singh said: “I want to assure you that relations with Russia are most important and we have no such relations with any other country of the world.

On his part, Medvedev said: “Every visit of the Indian Prime Minister is always a big event.

“It can only be like this because Russia and India are good friends," Medvedev said.