Accepting that Ukraine's expertise in defence technologies is well established and offers synergies with the Indian defence technology base, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday said the defence cooperation agreement signed between the two nations establishes a new framework for expanding this cooperation.
" 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 in his statement to the media during the state visit of President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.
Dr. Singh said 'India's linkages with Ukraine in the field of space science date back to the commencement of our 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 added.
The Prime Minister said that he also exchanged views on nuclear energy and nuclear safety with visiting President Yanukovych.
"The unfortunate Chernobyl accident has given Ukraine valuable insight and knowledge in dealing with this critical issue. 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," said Dr. Singh.
"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 added.
Dr. Singh said the discussions between him and President Yanukovych focused on the bilateral commercial relations.
"Both of us noted that our bilateral trade has more than doubled in the last five years to nearly 3 billion dollars, 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," said Dr. Singh.
"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 added.
The Prime Minister said that he and President Yanukovych also exchanged views on regional and global issues.
" We also agreed to intensify our 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.
Dr. Singh said that he conveyed to the visiting President his 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.
"President Yanukovych and I have undertaken a comprehensive review of our bilateral relations. We have now agreed to forge a Comprehensive Partnership between our two countries," he added.
Dr. Singh, who extended a very warm welcome to the President of Ukraine on his first state visit to India, said that his visit takes place as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Ukraine. (ANI)