New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday described the ties between India and Russia as "all comprehensive" and said it will be an honour to be part of the 70th anniversary commemoration of World War II in Moscow.
In an interview to ITAR TASS news agency and a TV interview to TASS, the president said: "I would say that our relationship is all comprehensive. Russia was the first country with which India had a strategic partnership."
Mukherjee, who left for a five-day visit to Russia, said it will be an honour to be part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of World War II on May 9, which recognises the monumental contributions of Russia to the victory over Nazism and Fascism.
The president said the commemoration on May 9 would remind people "of the need for all countries to strive actively for peace for the common benefit of humankind and to never forget lessons of the war".
Recalling his long association with Russia and its leadership during his many decades in public life, Mukherjee said he has met President Vladimir Putin on a number of occasions.
On bilateral ties, Mukherjee said the "geopolitical realities and cultural affinities have ensured that ours has been a relationship marked by exceptional understanding and convergence of views, through all the realignments in the global political and economic landscape.
"Russia was the first country with which India concluded a formal agreement on strategic partnership in October 2000," Mukherjee recalled.
"In recognition of the considerable strengthening of our multi-faceted relations since then, we now describe our relationship aptly as a special and privileged strategic partnership."
"An area of considerable promise is cooperation in education, research and innovation. We are actively working towards creating institutional linkages between our educational and research institutions," Mukherjee said.
The president said the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project showcases the bilateral cooperation, and the hydrocarbons sector holds great promise.
On defence ties, he said India would like to apply the BrahMos supersonic missile project experience to other defence platforms and equipment.
"We believe that the 'Make in India' initiative provides exciting new opportunities for India-Russia collaboration in setting up manufacturing facilities in India for Russian weapons systems, their sub-assemblies and components," he said.
Putin had "responded very warmly to this approach", Mukherjee said, adding: "We are also putting in place more active service-to-service exchanges, training cooperation and regular military exercises."
He said the "special privileged strategic partnership has raised our relationship from the level of mere buyer and seller to joint collaborators in different sectors starting from defence to space research. I believe this cooperation will further enhance in the coming years."