PM Modi recalls his 16-year-ago Russia visit as CM

St. Petersburg [Russia], June 1 (ANI): While jointly addressing the media with the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 18th Annual India-Russia Summit at St. Petersburg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled his first visit to St. Petersburg as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, when he came as part of the delegation of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
During the addressal, Prime Minister Modi said, 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries have been marked by a high degree of convergence on various bilateral and global matters.
"I am happy to be back in President (Vladimir) Putin's hometown, and added that ties between India and Russia span the spectrum from Culture to Defence (Sanskriti se Suraksha)," he said.
He said that in 2001, soon after becoming the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he came as part of the Indian delegation and signed an agreement of cooperation between his state and the Russian province of Astrakhan, while Vajpayee and Putin, who was also then President, watched.
"Today, I am standing with President Putin and watching the signing of agreements," Modi said.
Terming the 18th annual India-Russia summit as very productive, PM Modi said the St. Petersburg Declaration is a benchmark of stability in a turbulent, interdependent and interconnected world, adding new vigour to India-Russia relations.
The Prime Minister described energy cooperation as one of the cornerstones of the relationship between India and Russia, and noted that this cooperation in the nuclear, hydrocarbon, and renewable energy sectors has been considerably deepened by the discussion and decisions taken.
In this context, he mentioned the agreement of Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
PM Modi said he interacted with top CEOs and urged the private sector of India and Russia to work closely and boost economic ties.
Acknowledging the privileged nature of the strategic partnership between the two countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "This year, India and Russia are celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries. Over these decades, first the Soviet Union and then Russia were active in building steel works, power stations, chemicals plants, gas pipelines, agribusiness facilities, and transport infrastructure. We in Russia are proud of this capital we have developed together."(ANI)

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