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Russia is special, says Pranab in Moscow

Last updated on: October 11, 2007 21:41 IST

Russia enjoys a very unique place in India's foreign relations with their strategic partnership covering the entire spectrum of the bilateral cooperation, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Moscow.

Mukherjee, who arrived here on a three-day visit, will co-chair the Indo-Russian Inter-governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific-technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC) with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov.

"Russia enjoys a very special and unique place in India's foreign relations in the context of our longstanding, time-tested friendship and the strategic partnership between the two countries," Mukherjee said in his arrival statement in an apparent attempt to dispel any apprehensions about pro-US tilt in New Delhi's foreign policy at the cost of Russia.

In a written statement released by the Indian mission here, Mukherjee noted that over the last 60 years, the bilateral relationship had been steadily developed. He expressed confidence that their natural complementarities will ensure that India-Russia friendship will grow and further deepen in the future.

"India's strategic partnership with Russia covers the entire spectrum of our bilateral cooperation. The two governments have made steady progress in various fields since the landmark visit of President Putin to India in January 2007, when he was also the chief guest in our Republic Day celebrations," Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee said the year 2007 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, which took place on April 13, a few months before India's Independence.

He said that it was worth recalling the warm and active contacts of leading Indians - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore - with Russia (then Soviet Union) which started even before Indian independence.

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