Moscow, Dec 16: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today congratulated his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the victory of his party in December 4 parliamentary polls, widely perceived by the West as ‘rigged'.
According to the transcript of the initial remarks at their meeting provided by the Russian Prime Minister's Office, Singh said: “permit me to congratulate you and the people of Russia on successful State Duma elections and the victory of United Russia party.”
The ruling United Russia had obtained 238 seats in the 450-strong State Duma polls, down sharply from the 315 seats it won in the elections in 2007.
Putin, 59, who is set to reclaim the presidency in 2012 elections, is facing one of the biggest challenges to his 12-year rule amid massive protests against him following the polls, which has been described as “rigged” by the West.
Singh, who is here on a three-day visit to attend the 12th annual bilateral summit, after his wide ranging talks with President Dmitry Medvedev had a meeting with Putin. Singh also wished success for the Putin in the presidential polls.
He said in India Putin is seen as a ‘special friend' and ‘architect' of the privileged strategic partnership between the two countries.
Welcoming Singh in his office, Putin underscored that the relations between Russia and India are not undergoing any changes in essence; they are only developing and moving forward.