The India-Russia annual bilateral summit this year is likely to be held in October, and the event would be the “high point” of the celebrations marking 70 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations, the country’s envoy in New Delhi said on Tuesday.
Ambassador of Russia to India Nikolay Rishatovich Kudashev also described the current ties between the two countries as “excellent”. He was speaking to the media after receiving a friendship motor car rally at the sprawling embassy, which culminated in Delhi after completing a journey of nearly 9,000km spanning 23 cities, starting from Bhilai in Chhattisgarh.
“This rally reflects the inseparable ties between the two countries. The rally has passed through many cities and places where India and Russia have collaborated on various projects. We already have held a number of events to mark the 70th anniversary,” Kudashev said.
“And, the high point of the celebrations, would be the (India-Russia) bilateral summit, expected to take place here in India in October,” he said. The last bilateral summit was held in St Petersburg, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Modi had said that 70 years of the diplomatic relations between the two countries have been marked by a high degree of convergence on various bilateral and global matters. Asked if the ties have been enhanced as a result of the commemoration, the envoy said, “Yes, definitely, it reflects the growing Indo-Russian ties.”
Kudashev also said there are multiple issues facing both the countries, from threat of terrorism and drug menace to building a sustainable environment, and promoting regional cooperation, especially for a larger Eurasia. Incidentally, the rally, organised by Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Motors Sports Club and supported by governments of India and Russia, also passed through Kudankulam town in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, besides, visiting Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Goa, Ajmer and Rishikesh.
On Kudankulam power plant, the envoy said, “It is a successful project. We are awaiting approval from the government of India for our second plant, so that we can continue our contribution to the energy needs of India.”
Asked what aspect of bilateral ties connect the two countries the most, Kudashev said, “People-to-people ties.” “What connects us the most is the never-ending sympathy between people of the two countries, for each other. It is the jewel in our ties. Already, 200,000 people tourists are travelling from Russia to India, and 100,000 from India to Russia, every year (on an average basis),” he said.
The Russian envoy also said, “Our trade is growing 20% every year. And, 8,000 students across the country (Russia) are studying in various universities.” After finishing the India leg, the nine cars, participating in the rally, would now move to Mumbai on its way to Moscow then to St Petersburg.
“The Russia leg would begin from Bandar Abbas in Iran. The team members will drive the cars through Isfahan to reach Tehran, and then Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, and then enter Russia,” general secretary of Kalinga Motor Sports Club, Ramesh Chandra Mahapatra said.
The next leg would begin late April and reach Moscow around mid-May, he said. Joint secretary (Eurasia) in the ministry of external affairs, G.V. Srinivas said the next leg of the rally will go through the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC).