Thursday, Nov 13, 2003
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By Amit Baruah and
Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and Russian President Vladimir Putin signing agreements in Kremlin, Moscow on Wednesday. PTI Photo.
In a declaration signed by the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, the two countries said a "concrete and time-bound" action plan under the aegis of the United Nations should be adopted for the "earliest restoration" of Iraq's sovereignty. A key agreement on cooperation in space research, which includes Russian assistance in an Indian lunar mission, was among the 10 accords signed in the Kremlin this afternoon after detailed talks between the two leaders.
The Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal, told presspersons that Russia had backed to the hilt the Indian position on Pakistan by reiterating that an end to cross-border terrorism and the dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan was a pre-requisite for a purposeful dialogue.
In brief remarks to the press, the Russian President welcomed the recent initiative taken by Mr. Vajpayee to improve relations with Pakistan. Mr. Putin also said the Indian and Russian approaches to international problems "practically coincide".
The two countries were also unanimous that serious results in resolving international problems could only be attained through collective action on the part of the United Nations, he added.
Mr. Vajpayee announced that India and Russia had agreed to increase the frequency of air connections between the two countries. "Russian airlines are also being granted fifth freedom rights to Kabul from India subject to the agreement of the Afghan Government," he said.
"India-Russia defence cooperation has acquired great versatility, and encompasses a wide range of joint research, design, development and co-production. The fifth successful trial launch of the BrahMos missile a few days ago is an example of this. We discussed other projects and areas of defence cooperation," the Prime Minister said.
In a quantum jump for the Indo-Russian strategic partnership, the two countries agreed to coordinate positions on key global issues by issuing the detailed Declaration on Global Challenges and Threats to World Security and Stability. Defence, space and science and technology were described as the "building blocks" of the bilateral strategic partnership by Mr. Sibal.
By emphasising the need to give up "double standards" in the war against terrorism, Russia has agreed to an Indian formulation on the issue and sent a "joint" message to the Western world on counter-terrorism.
They also called for the promotion of confidence among members of the anti-terrorist coalition by giving due consideration to the interests of each one of them and ensuring that the fight against terrorism was based on "rules of international law and the U.N. Charter".
India and Russia favoured the effective implementation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373 aimed against "those" who support, fund, or abet terrorists or provide them shelter or asylum to engage in cross-border terrorism.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the two countries called for the "prevention of the failure of the roadmap" to settle the problem. Any failure of the roadmap, backed by the quartet of Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union, may result in the situation in Israel and Palestine, as also the entire West Asia, spiralling beyond control.
Supporting the efforts of the transitional Afghan Government in bringing peace and stability to the country, the declaration said it was important that the time-frame envisaged in the Bonn Agreement was adhered to. "India and the Russian Federation strongly believe that Afghanistan should emerge as a peaceful, strong, prosperous, united and independent nation that would be free from external interference and living in peace and harmony with its neighbours," it stressed.
Both nations favoured the efforts of the "countries concerned" and the international community for a peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula and maintaining its non-nuclear status.
"India and the Russian Federation affirm that the future international order based on multipolarity should be determined by collective and multilateral processes rather than unilateral ones," it said.
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