Moscow: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said that Russia has contributed to India's development, growth and security and has been a 'pillar of strength at difficult moments' for his country.
Addressing the diplomatic academy of the Russian ministry of foreign affairs here after receiving an honorary doctorate from it, he said that India-Russia relations, shaped as they are by their respective historical experiences, cultural affinities, political convergences and economic opportunities, will not be affected by winds of transient global political trends.
"Russia has contributed to India's development, growth and security. India will always reciprocate this support. Across Indian society and the spectrum of its political structures, there is unanimity that friendship with Russia is an important pillar of India's foreign policy.
"India values its close and extensive cooperation with Russia in defence, nuclear energy and security. Russia is and will remain our most important defence partner," Mukherjee said.
The president said the dynamic development of the bilateral strategic partnership owes a great deal to the vision and leadership of President Vladimir Putin.
"His personal commitment has led to new heights in relations of the two countries. India recognises President Putin as a great friend of India," said Mukherjee, adding he looked forward to renewing his association with President Putin on this visit.