India, Ukraine agree to forge Comprehensive Partnership
New Delhi, December 10, 2012
India and Ukraine today agreed to forge a Comprehensive Partnership between them and signed a defence cooperation agreement to establish a new framework for expanding their ties in this area.
At a joint media interaction with Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych here after the two leaders held bilateral talks, Dr Singh said they also exchanged views on nuclear energy and nuclear safety, where they could learn from each other.
He said Mr Yanukovych's first state visit to India was taking place as the two countries were celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them.
"President Yanukovych and I have undertaken a comprehensive review of our bilateral relations. I conveyed to the President my satisfaction at the renewed vitality in our partnership in recent years and thanked him for his personal efforts and commitment to strengthen India – Ukraine relations. We have now agreed to forge a Comprehensive Partnership between our two countries," he said.
Dr Singh said Ukraine’s expertise in defence technologies is well established and offers synergies with India's own defence technology base.
"Our two countries are already undertaking a number of defence cooperation projects. The defence cooperation agreement that we have just signed establishes a new framework for expending this cooperation," he said.
The Prime Minister said India's linkages with Ukraine in the field of space science date back to the commencement of the countr's space programme.
"I am pleased that we are currently cooperating on advanced space launch vehicles. We have also broadened our scientific cooperation to draw upon the rich science and technology base that both countries possess. Today’s agreement on science and technology cooperation will facilitate deeper engagement in this important area," he said.
Dr Singh said the Chernobyl accident had given Ukraine valuable insight and knowledge in dealing with the critical issue of nuclear safety.
"Through the Agreement that has just been signed between the nuclear regulatory authorities of both sides, we have agreed to share our experiences in nuclear safety and radiation protection. I also complimented President Yanukovych for his initiative to host the Kyiv Summit on Safe and Innovative Use of Nuclear Energy in April 2011 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident," he said.
The talks also focused on bilateral commercial relations, with both leaders noting that the bilateral trade between the two countries had more than doubled in the last five years to nearly $3 billion, though it is heavily weighted in favour of Ukraine.
"We agreed to further strengthen our commercial relations and make them more broad-based and balanced. We have identified a number of areas such as fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, information technology, mining and heavy machinery for special attention. In this regard, I also conveyed to President Yanukovych India's interest in visa arrangements to facilitate travel by businessmen, professionals, students and people between the two countries," he said.
The two leaders also exchanged views on regional and global issues and agreed to intensify their consultations in international forums.
"I have no doubt that this visit by President Yanukovych will set India-Ukraine relations on a firm course," he added.