Sonia Gandhi

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi today (10) hailed the “special partnership” between India and Russia, saying it has resulted in laying the foundations of India’s industrialisation.

She was speaking at the inauguration of a photo exhibition organised in Moscow to celebrate the Centenary Anniversary of India’s first woman prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Gandhi said her family’s ties with Russia dates back to 1927 when Indira Gandhi’s grandfather Motilal Nehru, father Jawaharlal Nehru and mother Kamala first visited Moscow.

“It was this journey that inspired Nehru to write his very first book, Soviet Russia: Some Random Sketches and Impressions,” she said.

“Indira Gandhi herself made her first trip to Russia in 1953. Her letters to her father tell him how excited and deeply moved she was by Moscow and her people,” Gandhi added.

India and Russia shared a special partnership that has resulted in laying the foundations of India’s industrialisation which are still very visible, she said.

“These include steel plants, oil refineries, engineering complexes, power stations and fertilizer factories. The Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai that is now globally renowned was started with Russian assistance. Indira Gandhi took the Indo-Soviet link to a new level altogether, giving it solid strategic content as well,” she said.

Commending Russia’s support to India during the Bangladesh’s War of Independence, Gandhi said Moscow “stood like a rock” with India during New Delhi’s moment of “grave crisis”.

“There was a genuine warmth and a rare chemistry between Indira Gandhi and the Russian leaders,” she said.

Gandhi said the exhibition on Indira Gandhi tells the story of a courageous, compelling and charismatic leader who left an indelible imprint not only on her own country, not only on the India-USSR relationship but on the world stage as well.

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