Fort Russ – 24th December, 2015
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,
The first official visit to Moscow by India’s Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, is coming to an end. Our talks were very substantive and fruitful. I hope they would assist in promoting the privileged Russian-Indian strategic partnership.
Yesterday Mr Modi and I had a separate informal meeting, where we covered key world developments. It is important that Russia and India have very similar approaches to the main global challenges.
Our countries are in favour of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict and national accord in Afghanistan. We are convinced that the entire international community would benefit from the creation of a broad anti-terrorist coalition acting based on international law and under the aegis of the United Nations.
Russia favours further enhancing of India’s role in resolving global and regional problems. We believe that India as a great nation with its balanced and responsible foreign policy is a worthy candidate to the position of a permanent UN Security Council member.
I would like to remind you that Russia actively supported India when it joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. We closely cooperate within BRICS, the rotating presidency of which we will hand over to India in February 2016.
In the course of today’s talks in restricted and expanded formats, as well as at our meeting with leading Russian and Indian business community representatives, we spoke about developing the entire range of bilateral relations, giving special attention to trade and economic cooperation.
Unfortunately, in the first 10 months of this year our mutual trade has gone down by 14.4 percent. This was mainly caused by a drop in energy prices and lower demand for machine building produce due to unfavourable external market situation and exchange rate differences. We agreed to enhance our efforts to bring trade to a stable growth trajectory, discussed practical measures to develop and diversify trade and lift administrative and other barriers. The key role here belongs to our Intergovernmental Commission, which met on October 20 in Moscow. Our significant reserve is in building up investment cooperation.
We agreed to increase mutual investment though greater industrial cooperation and implementation of major infrastructure and energy projects. Russia is assisting in building the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
The first unit of the plant was commissioned in June 2014. Weeks remain before the launch of the second unit. We intend to begin the construction of the third and fourth units in the near future. Negotiations are underway on units five and six.
We have agreed on India’s assigning another plot for the construction of Russian power units, where we intend to use the latest WWER-1200 reactors built with the application of the latest and safest technologies.
These are all practical steps directed at implementing an important document we signed one year ago – the Strategic Vision of Russian-Indian Cooperation in Peaceful Nuclear Power Use. It contains plans to jointly build in India at least six more power units over a period of 20 years.
The export of Russian hydrocarbons to the Indian market is growing. The agreement between Rosneft and Essar envisages large-scale deliveries of oil and petroleum products to Indian refineries – up to 10 million tonnes a year over a period of 10 years.
This year Gazprom has also delivered 5 consignments of liquefied natural gas to India, and we are implementing major projects in energy generation. The Silovye Mashiny corporation has completed deliveries and commissioned equipment for the Teri and Balimela hydro power plants and the Konaseema combined cycle power plant. Three units of the Sipat thermal power station are being built on a turnkey basis.
Large-scale business ties between Russia and India are by no means limited to energy. Thus, I would mention our strategic cooperation in the diamond industry. Russia is the largest diamond producer in the world with 27 percent of world extraction, while India is a leader in cutting diamonds with 65 percent of the trade. Almost half of the Russian feedstock is delivered to India.
Last year during our joint participation in the International Diamond Conference in New Delhi, Mr Prime Minister and I agreed to further enhance our cooperation, and work is underway. Thus, Alrosa has increased the number of its long-term contracts from 9 to 12. To expand cooperation, a special customs zone is being set up at the Mumbai diamond exchange.
We also agreed to launch new joint projects in such high technology areas as aircraft engineering, automotive industry, metallurgy, pharmaceuticals and the chemical industry. We discussed the prospects for Russian businesses to take part in the Indian import replacement programme, which is appropriately called Make in India. We see this as an additional opportunity for the creation of joint ventures, technology transfer and production of high-value-added goods.
The protocol that has been signed on simplifying travel requirements for certain categories of citizens of our two countries will promote more active business contacts and a more liberal visa regime. Now business people can visit Russia and India on direct invitations from their partners.
Our two countries have traditionally been working together in the sphere of military and military-technical cooperation, and I am not only referring to deliveries of ready-made goods, but also to close technological cooperation. An example of such cooperation is the joint creation of the BraMos missile complexes. We have already launched mass serial production of anti-ship missiles in the interests of the Indian Navy. Equally promising, in our opinion, is the discussion on projects to develop a multi-functional fighter aircraft and a multi-purpose transport aircraft. We have noted the importance of regular Indra joint land, naval and air force exercises.
Humanitarian ties remain another important component of the Russian-Indian partnership. This year Russians have shown great interest in events of the Indian culture festival. We hope that the festival of Russian culture, which will be held in India next year, would be just as memorable.
In conclusion, I would like to thank our Indian colleagues and friends, and Mr Prime Minister personally for the constructive joint work. We will continue to do everything possible to develop the Russian-Indian partnership for the benefit of our two countries.
Thank you very much for your attention.