`Consensus` for strengthening Indo-Russia ties: Prez
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 03, 2009, 00:25
Moscow: India on Wednesday expressed its keen desire to intensify bilateral ties with Russia as President Pratibha Patil asserted that there was a "national consensus" to build on the good relations which are based on "solid foundations".

Undertaking a two-nation trip that will also take her to Tajikistan, the President, who was given a ceremonial reception on her arrival here, said that New Delhi and Moscow shared common perceptions and efforts of the two countries were to further consolidate the gains in the bilateral ties.

"Building good relations with Russia is a matter that enjoys national consensus in India. India and Russia have always been friends and our friendship is based on mutual trust, confidence and commonality of interests," she told reporters accompanying her on her maiden visit to Russia.

Patil, who is leading a large delegation including Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, said that the bilateral ties encompassed many areas of cooperation for mutual benefit such as defence, science and technology, energy security including civil nuclear energy and hydrocarbons.

Noting that Russia has one of the largest reserves of hydrocarbons in the world and Indian companies have established their presence in this important sector here, the President hoped that cooperation in this area could grow from strength to strength.

Patil, who would be meeting her Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, said that she would be exchanging views with the Russian leadership on regional and international issues that concern both India and Russia.

"We share common perceptions with Russia on global and regional issues," she said.

On the second leg of her visit, the President would visit Tajikistan from September eight and discuss New Delhi's resolve to fight against terrorism and extremism with the leadership of that country in order to bring peace and stability in the region.

India and Tajikistan share close defence and security relations and have been together in the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The visit would emphasise the importance that India attached to the Central Asian region in general, "which is part of our extended neighbourhood, and to our relations with Tajikistan in particular," she said adding that she would hold talks with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, Prime Minister Akil Akilov and other Tajik leaders.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, September 03, 2009, 00:25

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