Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday arrived in Moscow on the first leg of a two-nation visit, during which he will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to strengthen bilateral strategic partnership.
"The scope of our relationship with Russia is unique, encompassing strong and growing cooperation in areas such as defence, nuclear energy, science and technology, hydrocarbons, trade and investment, and people-to-people exchanges," Singh said in a statement before leaving for Moscow.
Referring to his visit, Singh said the annual summit with Russia, which has been held since 2000, is an important feature of the special and privileged strategic partnership.
Singh will be participating in the 14th annual summit with Putin tomorrow, his fifth in Moscow.
"I will convey to President Putin the importance we attach to our relations with Russia, and I will use this visit to strengthen our partnership in every possible way," he said.
Noting that India and Russia have always had a convergence of views on global and regional issues, Singh said India values Russia's perspective on international developments of mutual interest.
He said he was looking forward to exchanging views with Putin on a broad range of international developments, including the conflict and turbulence in West Asia as also closer to India, particularly in Afghanistan.
"I will convey to President Putin our interest in deepening our consultations and coordination on international issues," he said.
After talks and a working lunch with the Russian president on October 21, the prime minister will be conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
Apart from Russia, Singh will also visit China.
On his five-day-long two-nation tour, Singh said, "I am confident that my visit will strengthen our relations with two of our most important partners and create new strategic opportunities for India's growth, prosperity and development in a stable external environment."
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inspects the honour guard during a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival at Moscow's Vnukovo airport
Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters