Following is the text of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s departure statement prior to his visit to Russia today:
“At the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation, His Excellency Mr. Dmitry Medvedev, I am leaving today to attend the BRIC and SCO Summits being hosted by Russia in Yekaterinburg.
The countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) together account for 40% of the world’s population and 40% of global Gross Domestic Product. The BRIC grouping has the potential to lead global economic growth. In fact, global economic recovery is closely linked to the success of the BRIC economies. India is among the fastest growing BRIC economies, and we are ready to play our part in coordinating international efforts to overcome the ongoing financial and economic slowdown. BRIC countries also have a role to play in promoting the principle of multilateralism in international affairs, and in the reform of institutions of global governance, including the United Nations, to reflect contemporary realities. From these points of view, the convening of the first stand-alone summit of BRIC countries is a significant development.
I will also be attending the Summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for the first time. India has been an observer of the SCO since 2005. My decision to attend the Summit is a reflection of the high regard we have for Russia’s Presidency of the SCO, and our desire to intensify our engagement with countries of our extended neighbourhood in Central Asia. There are issues which concern both of us, such as the fight against terrorism and extremism and cooperation in areas of energy security, infrastructure development, agriculture, transportation, science and technology and education. India and the SCO stand to gain considerably from each other through such cooperation.
During my visit, I look forward to meeting and exchanging views with the other world leaders who will be present in Yekaterinburg.”