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
"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.