Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said India and Russia are ‘natural partners’ in fighting terrorism and the two countries must strive to broaden their ties which have ‘withstood the test of time’. His comments were recorded in a news article published in Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazetta, a day before he is expected to travel to St Petersburg for the 18th India-Russia annual Summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The prime minister is on a four-nation tour; he has visited Germany and Spain and is expected to visit France after his trip to Russia.
“We have been together in times – good and bad,” Modi wrote in an article published on Wednesday in Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazetta. Describing terrorism as ‘more lethal and more organised today than ever before’, he said India and Russia “are natural partners in fighting terrorism unitedly and with determination and to promote a multi-polar international system based on the central role of the UN and international law.”
“India-Russia relations have been the one constant in a world that has changed dramatically since 1947. They have withstood the test of time, and grown from strength to strength. The resilience of our relationship is based on the fact that it rests on the principles of equality, trust and mutual benefit,” Modi was quoted from the article.
He hailed erstwhile Soviet Union’s help in building an industrial base in India. “In the last seventy years, India has developed a large and diversified industrial and technological base. We are among the fastest growing large economies of the world. The potential for India’s accelerated growth has never been greater, nor the optimism higher,” Modi said. He added that Russia re-emerged after the events of 1991 as a global power with international reach and influence.
“Our cooperation in the military technical field is a pillar of great strength in India-Russia relations. Russian equipment and technology is the mainstay of our defence forces,” the prime minister said. “The symbols of our contemporary partnership today include Indian investments in Sakhalin 1, and now the Vankor and Taas-Yuryakh oil fields, the nuclear power plant at Kudankulam and the Brahmos Joint Venture Project.
“But we cannot and should not be satisfied with our achievements and must strive to open new vistas. We should fully exploit our mutual complementarities based on our large markets, resource endowments and industrial and technological base,” he added.
Modi said the two countries will be opening new avenues for cooperation, including in the energy sector, telecommunications and science and technology. “We are exploring new areas of cooperation like railways, innovation, IT, diamond trade, and infrastructure. There are efforts towards greater joint production and technology transfer from Russia to India.”
The prime minister invited investments into India from Russian companies, especially in his flagship programmes, Make in India, Start Up India, Skill India and Digital India. “The significance of our relations goes beyond the bilateral sphere…Our partnership has contributed to global peace and security. We have supported each other’s key interests. We are important stakeholders in upholding the stability of the international political, security, economic and financial order,” he added.
Modi said the policy of building strong relations with Russia enjoys crosscutting national consensus in India and every government in India since 1947 has accorded the highest priority to developing close relations with Russia. “My government is not only committed to following this policy, but taking our relations to newer heights,” he added.
Modi recalled his first visit to Russia back in 2001 with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying that he was struck by the country’s achievements, its sense of history and the pride of its people. He added that the two countries share a bond as Russian writers, like Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Chekov, influenced Indian thought and drama. “We are committed to building on this legacy and bequeathing to our youth a strong and vibrant partnership that will contribute to changing the world for the better,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)