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Russia a trusted friend: PM
Vinay Shukla in Moscow |
November 13, 2003 17:09 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday said Indo-Russian friendship was a "stabilising force" in the world.
In spite of ups and downs and economic problems, this friendship had remained unchanged, he told members of the Indian community at a reception in Moscow.
Complete Coverage of Vajpayee's Trip
The PM said when he had visited Russia in 2001, he did not think he would come again.
"Maybe, I am sticking to my post for too long," he said in a lighter vein, but added that relations with Russia were not linked to any posts.
"It is not only friendship but a partnership with each other in resolving common problems," he said.
Vajpayee said he had discussed with President Vladimir Putin many issues, including ones relating to defence, science, space, industry and trade.
"We can say that our ties of friendship has been further strengthened and we are ready to face new challenges."
He described Russia as among the "most trusted friends" of India and said the two countries could depend on each other.
On the Iraq situation, he said, "There is a difference of view between countries like India and big nations. Innocent people are being killed and violence is rampant. The United Nations should play a greater role and mainly the US should stick to its obligations."
He said India was requested to contribute troops to Iraq, but it had told its "friends" that it has its own problems.
Vajpayee said there was a consensus in Parliament on not sending troops to Iraq. "We have a coalition government at the Centre and all the decisions are taken collectively, not by one person," he added.