India, Russia sign 16 agreements, defence manufacturing gets boost
Moscow: India and Russia signed 16 agreements, including manufacturing of Kamov 226 helicopters and Russian-designed nuclear reactors in India, even as Moscow affirmed its strong support for India's UN Security Council membership bid.
"We have laid the foundation of the future character of this strategic partnership," Modi said on Thursday at a joint press conference here with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the annual summit-level meeting between the two sides.
"The Inter-Governmental Agreement on manufacture of Kamov 226 helicopter in India is the first project for a major defence platform under the Make in India mission. It is rightly with our most important defence partner," the prime minister said.
"We have made progress on a number of other defence proposals. These would boost defence manufacturing in India and India's defence readiness with next generation equipment," he noted.
Modi said cooperation between the two countries in nuclear energy was increasing.
"We are making progress on our plans for 12 Russian nuclear reactors at two sites. The agreement today will increase Indian manufacturing content in these reactors. It supports my mission of Make in India," he said.
Modi, who addressed a gathering of the Friends of India event at the Expo Centre in the evening, termed his visit to Russia as "very successful and fruitful".
Earlier in the day, Modi visited Russia's National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC), also known as EMERCOM, where he was given a rundown on how it works.
He, along with Putin, also addressed chief executives of Russian and Indian companies and invited Russia's private sector to be a partner in India's prosperity.
The joint statement issued during the visit said: "Russia regards India as a deserving and strong candidate that can bring an independent and responsible approach within the UN Security Council and reaffirms its strong support to India's candidature for a permanent seat in a reformed UNSC."
Among the other agreements signed were those related to railways, solar energy, heavy engineering and hydrocarbons.
In the joint press conference, Modi said he and the Russian president were "moving creatively in expanding our economic relations".
He also said he and Putin "have a high degree of convergence in our positions on global issues and a strong commitment to deepen our international cooperation".
Modi said that with one of the world's largest reserves of hydrocarbons, Russia can be a critical source of energy security for India.
The prime minister said he and the Russian president were "moving creatively in expanding our economic relations".
"Following our last summit, India has created a special notified zone to facilitate direct trade between the world's largest uncut diamond exporter, Russia, and India, which processes 90 percent of the world's uncut diamonds," he said.
"Second, we are working on logistics. Our Green Corridor project has taken off. The International North South Transit Corridor through Iran will significantly reduce transportation time and cost."
Thirdly, he said both sides were moving forward on the India-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement.
He called for unity among nations to fight the global scourge of terror.
"We are one in our belief that the world must unite and take concerted action on combating terrorism, without distinction and discrimination between terrorist groups and target countries," he said.
In his speech at the Expo Centre, Modi said Russia had always stood as "power" beside India and this was a relationship of friendship.
"If one country stood by India through good times and bad then it is Russia," he said.
Modi spoke of India's demographic dividend and his governments' efforts to make it a manufacturing hub.
"Earlier, India was only seen as a market but now it is seen as a manufacturing hub for the world."
He said all agencies describe India as the fastest growing economy in the world with most promise.
Modi, whose speech was preceded by a cultural programme, said Sati Kazanova was born to a Muslim family in Russia and was a pop singer but had recited Vedic mantras.
He extended his wishes to people on Christmas. Modi also remembered former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee whose birthday falls on December 25.