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October 20, 2013
New Delhi

PM’s statement prior to his departure for Russia and China

I am leaving today for Moscow to attend the 14th India-Russian Annual Summit at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin. Thereafter, I will travel to Beijing for an official visit to China at the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang.

The Annual Summit with Russia, which has been held since 2000, is an important feature of our special and privileged 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. 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.

India and Russia have always had a convergence of views on global and regional issues, and we value Russia’s perspective on international developments of mutual interest. I look forward to exchanging views with President 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.

The Moscow State Institute of International Relations has decided to confer upon me an Honorary Doctorate during my visit. I am honoured at this gesture, which is also testimony to the relations between our two countries.

My next destination, Beijing, will afford me the opportunity to continue discussions with the new leadership of China that took over earlier this year and return the visit of Premier Li to India in May on his first overseas visit as the head of the new Chinese government. China is our largest neighbour and one of our top trading partners. In my last 9 years in office as Prime Minister, I have worked closely with Chinese leaders to establish a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership and put in place comprehensive mechanisms for cooperation and dialogue and to address bilateral issues between our two countries. Together, we have reached important consensus on maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border and made preliminary progress towards settlement of the India-China Boundary Question.

As the world’s two most populous nations and largest emerging economies, India and China today have a growing congruence of regional, global and economic interests, driven by our respective developmental aspirations and shaped by the evolving strategic environment. Peaceful, friendly and cooperative relations between India and China have provided conditions for both our countries and the wider region to grow with stability. During my visit, I will discuss with my Chinese interlocutors ways and means to consolidate our common strategic interests.

The list of areas of our bilateral cooperation is impressive - trade, investment, infrastructure, trans-border rivers, energy, agriculture, science & technology, youth and people-to-people engagement and many more. We are constantly exploring new ways, like sub-regional connectivity, to impart dynamism to our cooperation. We hope to take forward our engagement in many of these areas during my visit.

India and China have historical issues and there are areas of concern. The two governments are addressing them with sincerity and maturity, without letting them affect the overall atmosphere of friendship and cooperation. I will be discussing some of these issues as part of strategic communication between leaders with a forward-looking and problem-solving approach.

I will also be sharing my thoughts on India-China dynamics in the new era with the future leaders of China through an address at the Central Party School in Beijing.

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.