Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was today conferred an Honorary Doctorate by the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
Accepting the rare honour at a special ceremony here, Singh said he considered it a matter of "great honour" that the Institute decided to confer the doctorate on him.
"I am conscious of the rich history of this great institution and its enormous contribution to Russian and international diplomacy.
Your gesture today is yet another indication of the abiding affection of the Russian people for India and the strength of relations between our two countries, which I have experienced personally in many decades of public life," he said.
Singh in his acceptance speech pointed out that relations between India and Russia were built on abiding links of commerce and culture, which go back many centuries.
During his speech he invoked Mahatma Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy, saying that one only has to glance at the rich correspondence between the two to get a sense of how formative the thinking of Tolstoy was for Gandhi's practice of non-violence.
"In the 20th century, which was an era of momentous change for both our countries, our political leaders, intellectuals and artists engaged with each other and influenced each other's thoughts and ideas," Singh said.
Moscow State Institute of International Relations is the diplomatic school of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. Founded in 1944, it is the oldest and the most renowned school in Russia for preparing specialists in international relations and diplomacy.
The Prime Minister arrived here yesterday to participate in the 14th annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.