Conference addressed by Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
During the three-day official visit to India of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee addresses a joint press conference at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi, on December 4, 2002. Presented below is the transcript of the press conference.
Opening Statement by Atal Behari Vajpayee
It is a great pleasure to have President Putin and his delegation here with us in India. His visit is part of our recent tradition of annual summits, which we established during President Putinís visit to India in October, 2000. Regular summit level dialogue is an important element of our strategic partnership.
Our discussions today covered a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern. The two declarations which we have just signed show the extent of convergence of our interests and perspectives.
We have agreed to intensify and widen our cooperation against terrorism bilaterally and in multilateral fora. We exchanged views on the terrorist activity which threatens the stability of our region. Recent terrorist acts in various parts of India, in Moscow, Bali, Mombasa and elsewhere have shown that terrorism is seeking ever-newer targets.
The defence mechanisms have to be well coordinated. India-Russia Defence Cooperation has transcended a buyer-seller relationship and now encompasses joint research, design, development and co-production. President Putin and I agree to take this cooperation forward in projects of mutual benefit and in the interest of our national security.
Our cooperation in the peaceful application of our atomic energy and space technology has been very fruitful and we have agreed to look at ways to further it.
We have taken a hard look at measures to bring India-Russia bilateral trade up to the true potential by diversifying our trade basket. In this regard we welcome the recent Russian interest in the Indian telecommunications, electronics and information technology sectors in addition to the traditional areas of power and metallurgy.
Commercialization of technologies developed through joint science and technology projects is another promising area of future collaboration. We are also looking at measures to promote greater investment flows from our two countries.
Cooperation in energy has a long-term strategic significance for both our countries. Our collaboration in the Sakhalin-I project has made good progress. We have agreed to extend our cooperation to other areas including the Caspian Sea and to other aspects of energy sector.
President Putin has invited me to visit Russia. I have accepted the invitation with pleasure.
Opening Statement by Vladimir Putin
Dear ladies and gentlemen, first of all I would like to sincerely thank our Indian friends for their cordiality and hospitality. Today during the day, we had a number of meetings with the Prime Minister of India, with his colleagues Ministers as well as with the representatives of the Opposition.
I should, with satisfaction note that the development of Russia and India relations is good and there is no doubt, and it is the point for mutual understanding between the nations. We were pleased with my colleagues to see that the situation is absolutely the same here in Delhi.
Now I would like to say a couple of words about the results of our work. First of all, the declaration on the further strengthening of strategic partnership between Russia and India has been signed. This is a political document which lays a solid basis for our interaction in all aspects of international and other activities.
We have also signed the Joint Declaration on strengthening and developing economic, scientific and technological cooperation, and a number of other documents. By strengthening the legal framework of our bilateral relations, we made yet another step towards the development of strategic partnership between our States.
And we have a joint objective to make the world in which we live more just, democratic and secure. I think that in the environment of a complex international situation, our constant dialogue is of special importance. And our multi-faceted cooperation is an important factor of the international policy.
On a whole number of issues our positions are close or coincide. This pertains, in the first instance, to the issues of providing strategic stability and security, combating international terrorism, extremism and separatism as well as international and trans-national crime.
Our estimates of the situation in Afghanistan coincide in many aspects. We have also expressed our views on the situation which develops around Iraq.
We have paid special attention to the development of the situation in the South Asia. Russia strictly and continuously supports the normalization and improvement of India and Pakistan relations. This position was confirmed in June this year in the course of my meetings with Prime Minister of India, Mr. Vajpayee, and President of Pakistan Mr. Musharraf in Alma Ata.
Russia is positive in its estimates of the activities by the two countries aimed at decreasing the tension in the trans-border regions and in the region at large.
For instance, we should mention the recent decision by India and Pakistan to partially withdraw their troops from the state borders. At the same time, I am sure that to provide for further stabilization, the abiding of all commitments by the parties is necessary.
My opinion is that in this case it is not only important that Islamabad would cut the ways of infiltration of militants into Kashmir through the control line to the State of Jammu and Kashmir but would also increase its work to liquidate the whole terrorist infrastructure acting in this region.
In the course of our discussions we have in detail discussed the state of our bilateral ties. In the first instance, of special importance in this field is the questions of trade and economic cooperation and in the very first instance the more active development of prospect and future-oriented joint programmes and projects.
A full-scale and long-term work has already been launched in the power, energy and oil and gas as well as in a number of other fields. By that I mean the joint construction of the nuclear power station in Kudankulam as well as the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons at the shelf of the Bengal gulf and the joint participation in the Sakhalin-I project.
We are intending to develop and enhance our interaction our high technology and science-consuming fields. The military and technical cooperation is acquiring new quality. Today, it comprises not only the supply to India of the modern Russian arms and equipment but also the joint research as well as the development of projects.
We have also the development of the business infrastructure including the inter-bank cooperation on our agenda and with a special attention to the inter-regional cooperation.
In our joint declaration on strengthening and developing economic and scientific and technological cooperation, we have outlined a number of other topics which are to be resolved. I think that we contain great potential for the successful implementation of all our arrangements and agreements.
Ms. Veronica Vaskaboynikava, ITAR-TASS: My question is addressed to the two leaders. Can we say that the relations between Russia and India are an example of the strategic development relations?
Atal Behari Vajpayee: We can say that our relations in strategic cooperation are exemplary. We wish that other countries also cooperate like this and progress together.
Vladimir Putin: If you have mentioned then, in my statement to the press I have noted that in many aspects our positions and attitudes with India practically coincide. This is truly so and this happened by no accident. This is based on the coincidence and closeness of position on the key issues as well as on the closeness of our national interests.
It is the understanding of such aspects that brought us to our current position. We are highly satisfied by the state of our relations with India and are also convinced in the bright future of our relations. In this regard we can say that the relations between India and Russia completely correspond to the notion of strategic cooperation.
Mohan Narayan, Press Trust of India: This question is addressed to President Putin. You have recently voiced concern over the danger of Pakistanís weapons of mass destruction falling into terrorist hands, and also shared Indiaís concerns on Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and on its failure to dismantle terrorist infrastructure in that country. What concrete steps Russia, as part of the international community, plans to take to make Pakistan give up cross-border terrorism as an instrument of state policy?
Vladimir Putin: We really think that there is a problem to which we all should react. And this danger is called the danger of the spreading and proliferation of mass-destruction means and the possibility of use of such means by terrorists. If looking at this question from the perspective proposed by you I would answer it in the following way.
First of all we should be introducing into the international public opinion the understanding of the presence of such a threat.
Second point is that we should be strengthening the international nonproliferation mechanism in the field of mass-destruction weapons.
The third aspect is that everything should be done in order to settle all the disputes including the dispute between India and Pakistan by peaceful means.
The fourth point is that a system of international safeguards should be provided especially in the field of mass-destruction weapons. This would provide for the basis in the resolution of the problem you have mentioned.
Andrei Rayot, Gazette: Distinguished Prime Minister, distinguished President, what in your opinion should be done to bring the trade and economic relations between the two countries to the level which would match the high level of diplomatic and political relations between the two countries?
Atal Behari Vajpayee: We want to take our trade and economic relations to the same level as that of our political relations. The present state is not a satisfactory one. Nobody can feel happy about this level of trade between our two big countries. In the documents that we have signed today, we have outlined as to how we can increase our trade, how we can work together in third countries, how we can progress by making a joint plan of action, how we can increase our trade basket by including new products in that. We have made many such suggestions to develop our bilateral trade.
Vladimir Putin: I endorse what Mr. Prime Minister said when estimating the level of our trade and economic relations. In practical terms we should be following along several tracks.
First is to improve the infrastructure of business. To this belongs the development of communication, transport, financial infrastructure and information. We should be going into deeper relations in investments, in joint production of commodities as well as in more interaction in science-consuming fields. This is exactly what we are discussing today. And my point of view is that we have reached understanding concerning with the prospects and future-oriented fields of our relations from both sides.
Jyoti Malhotra, The Indian Express: My question is addressed to the Russian President, Mr. Putin.
Your Excellency, you know that to sustain Indiaís growth it needs a large and a plentiful supply of clean energy. Nuclear energy is both clean and environment-friendly. Would Russia be willing to further cooperate with India on nuclear energy, civilian nuclear energy? Would you, for example, be willing to supply additional civilian nuclear reactors, as you are already doing at Kudankulam? Did you discuss this in your meetings today with the Indian side? Would you suggest that the international community also do so? Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: First of all, I agree with your estimates of the prospects and the future for the nuclear energy.
Second point is that we have in detail discussed our cooperation in this field.
Third is that we do work with India in this field and are successful in that.
Fourth point is that we work within the framework of international rules and obligations and are continuing to abide to the obligations we have undertaken.
We also think that all the rules and regulations require improvement including this sphere also. The final point is that we are ready, we are prepared, and want to develop our relations with India including in nuclear field.
(Text in italics is the unedited version as translated by the Official Russian Interpreter in case of President Putin; and text underlined is originally spoken in Hindi by Prime Minister Vajpayee, and translated into English)
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi, December 4, 2002