My dear friend, President Vladimir Putin, I warmly welcome you to the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit, and I welcome your delegation. I know this is your second visit abroad in the last two years during the Corona period. Your attachment with India and your personal commitment symbolize the importance of India-Russia relations and I am very grateful to you for that.
Despite the challenges posed by Covid, the pace of relations between India and Russia has not changed. Our Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership has been continuously strengthening. The fight against Covid has also seen excellent cooperation between the two countries – whether in vaccine trials and production, in humanitarian assistance, or in the repatriation of each other’s citizens.
The year 2021 is of prime importance for our bilateral relations in many ways. This year marks five decades of the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation and two decades of our Strategic Partnership. It is my pleasure to be with you again in this special year because you have been the main driver of the remarkable progress our Strategic Partnership has made over the past 20 years.
There have been many fundamental changes at the global level in the last several decades. A lot of geo-political equations have emerged. But India-Russia friendship has been a constant among all these variables. Both the countries have not only cooperated with each other without any hesitation but have also taken special care of each other’s sensitivities. It is truly a unique and reliable model of inter-state friendship.
2021 is also special for our Strategic Partnership. Today was the inaugural meeting of the 2+2 dialogue between our Foreign and Defence Ministers. This has started a new mechanism to enhance our practical cooperation.
We have been in regular touch on Afghanistan and other regional issues as well. The regional partnership that began with the Eastern Economic Forum and the Vladivostok summit is today turning into a real cooperation between the Russian Far-East and the Indian states.
We are also adopting a long-term vision to deepen our relationship the economic sector. We have set a target of $30 billion in trade and $50 billion in investment by 2025. We must guide our business communities to reach these goals.
Our agreements today in various sectors will facilitate it further. Our defence cooperation is being further strengthened through co-development and co-production under the ‘Make in India’ programme. Our cooperation in Space and Civil Nuclear fields is also progressing well.
Many congratulations to Russia for being an observer at NAM and a dialogue partner at IORA. It was our pleasure to support Russia’s presence in both these forums. India and Russia have identical views on all the regional and global issues. In today’s meeting we will have an opportunity to discuss these issues.
Once again, I welcome you to India and I welcome your delegation. Even in the midst of such a busy schedule, you took out time to visit India, it is very important for us. I am sure that today’s discussion will be of great significance to our relationship.
Once again I thank you very much.
DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister’s remarks. Original remarks were delivered in Hindi.