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Indo-Russian ties unprecedently high: Putin
October 27, 2005 17:21 IST
Ahead of his summit meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that relations between Russia and India are "unprecedently high" and both countries have a continuous political dialogue.
Receiving External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh at his country residence outside Moscow, Putin said Dr Singh's forthcoming visit to Russia would be the biggest event of the year in bilateral relations.
Putin welcomed India's participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Prime Ministerial level meeting of which Natwar Singh attended on Wednesday.
India is one of the four observer nations at the SCO.
Putin said that the External Affairs Minister had talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Zhukov. This would strengthen India-Russian economic cooperation.
He expressed the hope that Natwar Singh's talks in Moscow would prepare the ground for the Russia-India summit later in 2005.
Conveying greetings from President A P J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Singh, Natwar Singh told Putin that he had very wide-ranging talks with Zhukov on development of economic ties and bilateral trade.
"We have unanimity on all issues which we discussed with Mr. Zhukov," Singh said.
The External Affairs Minister also briefed Putin on the killer earthquake that hit India and Pakistan on October 8. He said there were about 1,500 casualties on the Indian side, while Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and some regions of Pakistan bore the major brunt of the temblor.
Singh said India had rushed immediate relief supplies to Pakistan and is planning to set up camps to help relief efforts on the other side of the Line of Control.
It is believed that during his meeting with Putin, Singh would brief him on the India-Pakistan composite dialogue process for normalisation of relationship between the two neighbours.
One of the major issues to be discussed by Singh with Putin would be the amendment of the Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines to enable India get nuclear technology for civilian use.
During Prime Minister Singh's Russia visit in May, Putin had assured Moscow's willingness to cooperate with India in building more nuclear power units at Kudankulam if the NSG guidelines were amended.
According to sources, Putin had advised India to talk to the United States to seek amendment of the NSG guidelines.
After the breakthrough reached with US President George W Bush during Dr Singh's visit to Washington, new opportunities are opening up for more civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia.