New Delhi: Pointing out that the level of bilateral trade and investment between India and Russia was below its potential, President Pranab Mukherjee has called upon the two countries to make concerted efforts to take their two-way trade to USD 20 billion by 2015.
Mukherjee, who Tuesday met a parliamentary delegation from the Russian Federation, led by Chairperson of the Council of Russian Federation Valentina I. Matvienko, said India-Russia ties were strong in diverse areas such as energy, defence, space, trade and economics, science and technology, culture and people-to-people ties.
He said the level of bilateral trade and investment, however, remained below potential. "Both countries need to make sincere and concerted efforts and take specific measures including in thrust areas to achieve the target bilateral trade figure of USD 20 billion by 2015," Mukherjee said.
According to an official press release issued Wednesday, the president said Russia was a key partner and friend of India for many decades, and that the India-Russia privileged strategic partnership was a unique and multi-dimensional relationship, characterised by stability and warmth.
"Russia remains a key priority for India's foreign policy. From Soviet assistance in India's early industrialisation and defence consolidation to a strong symbiotic relationship in joint design and development in strategic sectors, the India-Russia Strategic Partnership reflects our remarkable convergence of interests in bilateral spheres as well as on the global stage," the president said.
The president said parliamentary exchanges were an important element of bilateral relations.
"India would like to see greater parliamentary exchanges between our parliaments at all levels. Frequent exchanges between the federal legislatures of both the countries can add another dimension to our vibrant and dynamic relationship," the president said.
The leader of the Russian parliamentary delegation said India would remain a reliable and true friend of Russia, and the bilateral relations had stood the test of time.
"Russia is happy over the growth in status and influence of India because our views and interests converge and we will together be able to better influence global events," Matvienko said.
She said inter-parliamentary relations have been lagging behind progress in other sectors and there was need for parliamentarians of both countries to also make substantive contributions to strengthening bilateral relations.