President Pratibha Patil on Saturday left here for St. Petersburg, the former imperial capital of Russia, where she is expected to meet district officials and visit a school that teaches Hindi.

Ms. Patil, who arrived here on Wednesday on a five-day state visit to Russia, left for St. Petersburg after holding extensive talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on regional and international issues and efforts to fight terrorism.

In St. Petersburg, she is expected to meet the plenipotentiary representative of the President to the North-West District and visit a Russian school that teaches Hindi.

During her talks with the Russian leadership here, Moscow said that its ties with New Delhi were defined by the "special trust".

Ms. Patil, on her part, said "the time-tested relationship between India and the Russian Federation has been marked by continuity, trust and mutual understanding."

Noting that the economic relations have become the "cornerstone" of the bilateral ties, both countries agreed to raise the volume of the trade between them to USD ten billion by 2010.

"Indeed, our friendship has stood the test of time as our two countries have come to each other's aid in times of difficulty," Ms. Patil said at a reception hosted by her Russian counterpart in her honour.

Besides, strategic areas such as energy, space and defence, mutual investments in industries, high-technology, cooperation in IT, banking, finance, other service sectors offered plenty of scope, Ms. Patil said.

Mr. Medvedev said Russia needs India's cooperation in energy, metallurgy, mechanical engineering, knowledge-intensive industries, ongoing construction of Kudankulam nuclear power plant and ONGC's participation in the Sakhalin-I project.

The leaders discussed strengthening the role of major international institutions like UN, ensuring security and stability in various parts of the world including Middle East and Central Asia and tackling terrorist threat which, he said, "is a big problem" for both countries.

Both leaders felt economic cooperation remained a cornerstone in strategic partnership between two nations at a time of global slowdown and noted achieving the trade target of USD ten billion by next year was realistic in view of continued growth in the bilateral trade ties.

While Ms. Patil noted that Mr. Putin was principal architect of strategic partnership with India the Russian Prime Minister said Russia has this partnership only India which he defined "special relationship defined by special trust".

Ms. Patil attended a concert by Indian folk artistes organised as part of "Year of India in Russia". She would also visit Tajikistan on September 6 where she would discuss with Tajikistan leadership on a wide range of issues.

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