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Prime Minister's Statement to the Press following meeting with the G-8 at St. Petersburg

New Delhi
July 18, 2006 

Following is the text of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s statement on his arrival at New Delhi after attending G-8 Outreach Summit meeting at St. Petersburg: 

“I speak to you after a very intensive round of meetings over the last two days. I would again like to thank President Putin for having taken the initiative to invite India, Brazil, China, Mexico, South Africa and Congo for discussions with the G-8 on some very crucial issues. The Outreach Session of the G-8 Summit embodied the spirit of close international cooperation in its approaches to the pressing problems of energy security, education and infectious diseases, terrorism and the special challenges facing Africa. The G-8 and Outreach countries expressed outrage at the barbaric terrorists attacks of July 11 in Mumbai and Srinagar and expressed solidarity with India. They expressed their readiness to undertake all necessary measures to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers, sponsors of these and other terrorist acts and those who incite terrorists to commit them. We are greatly encouraged by this unified expression and support of solidarity by all major countries of the world. The Outreach Session of the St. Petersburg Summit also allowed the G-8 and the Outreach countries to share views on global energy security, education and the fight against infectious diseases. I believe that our views and perspectives on these important issues made significant contributions to the discussions. I appreciate that the documents adopted by G-8 reflect a willingness to work in partnership with developing countries. I find their willingness to explore trilateral cooperation in the field of education to be particularly useful. We exchanged views on world trade. The G-8 has called for concrete endeavour to conclude the Doha negotiations. We are willing to join them in such an effort, but progress will only be possible if negotiations take fully into account the development concerns of the developing countries. In my bilateral meeting with President Lula Da Silva of Brazil we agreed that the transformation in our bilateral relations that commenced during his visit to India in January 2004 must be continued. We shared perspectives on energy issues including alternative fuel sources including ethanol and bio-diesel. I said that I was looking forward to visiting Brazil for a bilateral visit, followed by the IBSA Summit in September this year. In my meeting with President George Bush yesterday we reviewed developments in bilateral relations since the landmark visit of the President to India earlier this year. President Bush again condemned the blasts in Mumbai and Srinagar and we discussed ways to end the menace of terrorism. With regard to civil nuclear cooperation President Bush expressed optimism on successfully carrying the process forward to an early conclusion and also expressed understanding at some of the concerns on the proposed legislations that I conveyed. We agreed to take effective steps to expand on the collaboration in areas such as science and technology, education, agriculture, trade and industrial cooperation. In my meeting with Chancellor Merkel of Germany, we discussed several current international problems including the situation in the Middle East and the impasse in the Doha Round. I had the opportunity to discuss some issues pertaining to India’s energy sector and to personally extend an invitation to H.E. President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan to visit India. We discussed potential for business to business cooperation, in particular in the IT sector. 

Japanese PM Koizumi and I reviewed recent developments in our bilateral relations. A copy of the Joint Study Group report on enhancing economic cooperation was handed over to both of us. Both of us expressed satisfaction that the Joint Study Group had completed its work in a timely manner. We agreed to examine the recommendations expeditiously. I conveyed appreciation to PM Koizumi for his contribution to the recent positive momentum in our relations; the railway sector in particular has benefited from this. 

I also had the opportunity of jointly meeting with the Presidents of China and Russia. The simultaneous emergence of India, China and Russia as important economies of the Asian region is one of the remarkable developments of the 21st century. In their past meetings the three countries have identified six key areas for closer economic cooperation which includes energy, civil aviation, biotechnology, information technology, pharmaceuticals, and financial services. I underscored the importance of moving ahead rapidly on developing concrete projects of cooperation. 

The special relationship India enjoys with the Russian Federation really requires no further characterization. President Putin has agreed to be the Chief Guest of our Republic Day celebrations in January 2007. We both agreed that there is a strong agenda of bilateral cooperation projects that needs to be completed before the forthcoming visit of President Putin. 

I took up with all the Heads I met, the candidature of Mr. Shashi Tharoor for UN Secretary-General. He has very strong credentials for the post and I urged my interlocutors to give him their full support, in the forthcoming election process.”