President Pratibha Patil [ Images ] today embarked on her maiden visit to Russia [ Images ] seeking to consolidate the relations between the "close friends and partners" in the changed global geo-political situation.
She will also travel to Tajikistan during her week-long two-nation tour.
Patil, who is leading a large delegation including Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, was seen off at the airport by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ], Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee [ Images ] besides other dignitaries.
During her four-day stay in Russia, she will hold talks with President Dmitry Medvedev [ Images ] on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin [ Images ] will also meet her.
Ahead of her visit, Patil said India [ Images ] "is committed to develop relations of close and large-scale bilateral cooperation and partnership with Russia."
In an interview to Russian news agency Itar-Tass, she underlined that "despite the serious situation and changes that emerged over the past decades in the global geo-political situation, India and Russia remain close friends and partners, while our desire to consolidate our relations are constantly confirmed at top political level."
Describing Russia as a "reliable friend that passed the test of time", she hoped the bilateral ties will be further strengthened with her maiden visit to that country.
India has a "firm feeling of emotional attachment to Russia", she said.