PUTIN: RUSSIAN-INDIAN PARTNERSHIP POTENTIAL IS IN DEMAND

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BANGALORE (INDIA), December 5 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin believes that a great potential of economic and scientific partnership between Russia and India is in demand.

Speaking at the meeting with representatives of Indian business circles on Saturday, the Russian President pointed out that the Russian-Indian trade turnover was steadily growing, but its absolute figures are not satisfactory, yet. By the end of nine months in 2004, the volume of Russian-Indian trade turnover reached $2 billion, the Russian President emphasized.

The development of the infrastructure for trade, economic and scientific-technical cooperation gives a significant boost to the expansion of economic partnership between the two countries. This infrastructure must correspond to the status of our market economies and it has to be favorable and comfortable for private business, as well, Mr. Putin underlined.

Indian Prime Minister's decision to acknowledge officially the market status of the Russian economy is based exactly on this assumption and derives from the necessity to improve our cooperation, he pointed out.

The investment of a part of Indian debt into joint enterprises in Russia and India might be very effective in that sense, Mr. Putin emphasized.

"If some of the participants of the current forum were present at the similar meeting two years ago, they might recall the same discussion there. I must tell you sincerely that at that time the position of the Russian Finance Ministry was the main obstacle on the way to the solution of this issue. This particular ministry, as any other finance ministry is eager to receive money, especially when it happens without any particular effort on the part of its officials. However, the current economic situation in Russia is different. We would want these funds to be invested effectively in the Indian economy and we do not want these investments to be limited solely to joint ventures. These funds must be invested in the most promising spheres. I think it is fair," Mr. Putin said.

We have great perspectives, the Russian President said, in such areas as space exploration, nuclear power industry, tool-making for coal mining industry and metallurgy, information technology.

Mr. Putin also underlined that Indian partners might be interested in Russian expertise in the sphere of information security.

At the same time, the president pointed out that Russian-Indian participation in joint infrastructure projects opens new horizons of bilateral cooperation. Among those - the creation of the transportation corridor "North-South," which can become one of the cornerstones of economic and integration architecture of the giant Eurasian space.

Russia, the President stressed, plans to continue its participation in Indian projects in the sphere of civil aircraft manufacturing, construction for automobile, oil-and-gas and railroad industries, both on national and international levels.

The president emphasized that Russia is willing to help Indian economy to ensure its stability in the area of energy supply.

After a general meeting with representatives of Indian business circles, attended by about 150 businessmen, Mr. Putin conducted a special meeting with entrepreneurs who were actively involved in partnership with Russian business both in Russia and India.

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