President Pratibha Patil on Friday sought strengthening of the inter-parliamentary contacts between India and Russia as an important component of the bilateral strategic relationship.

Ms. Patil, who is on a five-day state visit here, stated this when she met the Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council (Upper House) Sergei Mironov.

“The President highly valued inter-parliamentary cooperation and we are interested in strengthening them,” Mr. Mironov told reporters after his parleys with Ms. Patil.

India is a federal state and has “much common” with Russia, he noted.

“India has accumulated unique experience of parliamentarism, that’s why inter-parliamentary relations with this country have a practical interest,” the Russian Upper House Chairman underscored.

He announced that Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha, has been invited to attend the celebrations of Parliament Day in Russia on September 29.

Mr. Mironov noted that so far the inter-parliamentary relations between the two nations were limited to interaction at the level of committees and commissions and in the past years there was no direct contact and interaction at the level of speakers and chairs of the Houses.

“Rajya Sabha Chairman’s forthcoming visit will fill this void,” Mr. Mironov said.

Patil is also scheduled to meet the Speaker of the State Duma (Lower House) Boris Gryzlov and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Economic interaction and energy cooperation, nuclear as well as conventional, will be the “principal focus” of Ms. Patil’s talks with Mr. Putin, the Indian Ambassador Prabhat Shukla said.

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