International Affairs



Your Excellency Mr. Vladimir Vladmirovich Putin,

President of the Russian Federation,Madame Lyudmila Alexandrovna Putina,Distinguished Guests, It gives me great pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to you, Mr. President on your first ever State Visit to India. We also welcome Madame Lyudmila Alexandrovna Putina and other distinguished members of your delegation. We consider your visit as an historic event. It is the first summit level meeting between our two countries in the first year of the new millennium. Your visit is significant in that we have today concluded the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and the Russian Federation which sums up the essence of the relationship between our two countries during the last half century and in the new century ahead of us. Excellency, we in India have been watching with admiration the resurgence of Russia and emergence of a new generation of young leaders in the Russian Federation.

This leadership is embodied in your dynamic personality. We are confident that under your able stewardship, the Russian Federation will be guided firmly towards the path of stability and prosperity. We wish you all success in your endeavours. A strong Russia is not only a cornerstone of a multipolar world order, it is also pivotal to India’s interests and its position in the world. For us, Russia has been a friend in need, and we see in you "the greatest friend" of India. You had remarked that India and Russia are destined for a long term partnership. Your visit, Excellency, underlines the inevitability of this common destiny. Excellency, the relations between India and Russia go back to centuries.

The Russian traveller Afanasi Nikitin came to India nearly a quarter of a century before the Europeans set foot on the Indian soil. The Russian Crown Prince visited Mumbai in the late 19th century. This year, we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the Russian Consulate General in Mumbai. The unique resonance in our relations has been sustained over time not only by our common interests and concerns, but by the affinities between our two vibrant civilisations.

The multifaceted relationship between India and the Russian Federation is substantive in content and extensive in scope. As we consolidate our co-operation, the main challenge before us is economic development in order to meet the aspirations and expectations of our people and to maintain our legitimate role in the world. At the same time, we also face another major challenge from the forces of international terrorism, religious extremism, drug trafficking, organised crime and separatism. Terrorism, Excellency, is the antithesis of democracy and of the basic precept of peaceful co-existence. Cross border terrorism, sponsored from across our borders, has taken the lives of thousands of our innocent citizens. Terrorism financed by drug-trafficking has become a new source of subversion in the world. The international community should resolve itself to eradicate this scourge.

India and the Russian Federation advocate unconditional observance of the principle of respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and the unity of States as the key concept in a pluralistic world. Hence the supreme importance to us and to the world of the Declaration on Protection of pluralistic States signed in Moscow by our two countries in June 1994. The United Nations organization is the fulcrum and framework of the pluralistic world order that we envisage. Hence the necessity and the urgency of reforming and restructuring the U.N. so that it reflects the realities of the world to-day. We are grateful to the Russian Federation for its clear and consistent support to India’s candidature for the permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Excellency, both India and the Russian Federation are at a new and dynamic stage of economic development. The economic reforms process in both countries has opened up bright prospects for our economies and new and expanding opportunities for our bilateral co-operation.

We need to reflect on this and take steps to diversify and enrich our many-sided economic interaction. Our defence co-operation constitutes an important element of our bilateral relations. As early as in 1904, the Indian nationalist leader Lokmanya Tilak had expressed interest in sending young Indians to Russian schools for military training. Today, our relations in the defence field have transcended a mere buyer-seller relationship and have expanded to include joint research and development, training and service to service contacts. Excellency, our co-operation in science and technology is more extensive than that which either of us have with any other country.

I am particularly privileged to have been associated with the signing of the Integrated Long Term Programme of Co-operation in Science and Technology in 1987. It gives me a great satisfaction that today, this programme has been renewed until 2010. The marriage of Russian science and technology with the capabilities and potentialities of Indian science and technology could, in my view, produce spectacular and beneficent results for our two countries and for the world. Indo-Russian cultural ties are rooted in the spiritual commonalities of our two civilisations.

Many Russian thinkers, writers and men of letters had been attracted to India. It is well known that Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi had been attracted to each other and influenced each other in their ideas as well as in some of their practical social reform programmes. Excellency, we have heard of your wish as a student to travel around India. You are in India to-day in fulfilment of that wish, but as Head of State of the Russian Federation and as our honoured guest. We do hope that your visit would enable you to feel the warmth and affection which we in India have for the great Russian people and for you, personally as their leader. I wish you, Madame Putina and the distinguished members of your delegation a memorable and enjoyable stay in India.

Excellency, the friendship and co-operation between India and Russia is not directed against any other State or people but is in conformity with our basic approach of friendship with all while deepening and broadening and consolidating the friendship that we already have established with countries over the years. Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I now request you all to join me in raising a toast:

  • to the good health and happiness of President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Madame Lyudmila Putina;
  • to the well-being and prosperity of the friendly people of the great Russian Federation; and
  • to the close and time-tested friendship and the strategic partnership between India and the Russian Federation.

Thank you

Jai Hind