"We have laid the foundation of the future character of this strategic partnership," Modi said yesterday at a joint press conference here with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the annual summit-level meeting between the two sides.

Modi, who addressed a gathering of the Friends of India event at the Expo Centre in the evening, termed his visit to Russia as "very successful and fruitful".Earlier in the day, Modi visited Russia's National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC), also known as EMERCOM, where he was given a rundown on how it works.

The joint statement issued during the visit said: "Russia regards India as a deserving and strong candidate that can bring an independent and responsible approach within the UN Security Council and reaffirms its strong support to India's candidature for a permanent seat in a reformed UNSC."

Among the other agreements signed were those related to railways, solar energy, heavy engineering and hydrocarbons. In the joint press conference, Modi said he and the Russian president were "moving creatively in expanding our economic relations".

The Prime Minister said he and the Russian president were "moving creatively in expanding our economic relations"."Following our last summit, India has created a special notified zone to facilitate direct trade between the world's largest uncut diamond exporter, Russia, and India, which processes 90 percent of the world's uncut diamonds," he said."Second, we are working on logistics.

Thirdly, he said both sides were moving forward on the India-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement. He called for unity among nations to fight the global scourge of terror.

In his speech at the Expo Centre,  Modi  said Russia had always stood as 'power' beside India and this was a relationship of friendship."If one country stood by India through good times and bad then it is Russia," he said.

Modi, whose speech was preceded by a cultural programme, said Sati Kazanova was born to a Muslim family in Russia and was a pop singer but had recited Vedic mantras.

He extended his wishes to people on Christmas. Modi also remembered former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee whose birthday falls on December 25.

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