Russia and India To Strengthen Strategic and Defence Ties

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday met President Pratibha Patil as he began his New Delhi visit eyeing upon boosting strategic and defence ties with India.

Putin, who is on a 22-hour visit to India, is expected to sign over a dozen agreements with India, including an umbrella civil nuclear pact to construct additional nuclear power stations.

The two countries already have agreements for construction of four nuclear reactors in addition to a pair of Russian units being built in Tamil Nadu.

During his meeting with Putin later this evening, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is likely to press for access to Russian nuclear reprocessing technology

Other agreements expected to be signed will be defence pacts as well as that of the price of refurbished aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, Oneindia reports.

According to RIA Novosti, India has a strong cooperation in the nuclear field with the Russians. Besides defence cooperation India-Russia ties are strategically important as leaders of both countries are also expected to establish a strategy on Afghanistan, critical to their own security.

The talks will focus on the security situation in Afghanistan, but will also extend to global issues including climate change, global financial crisis.

"This is one of our major, far-reaching, promising areas of interaction," Mr. Putin said while talking with Indian businessman in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi through video-conferencing.

Cooperation with India in nuclear energy will include building reactors, supply of the fuel and waste disposal, he said.

Dismissing concerns of safety, Mr.Putin said the new generation of nuclear reactors developed in Russia have been used in several sites in the Russian Federation and are considered among the safest in the world.

Mr. Putin is on a day's visit to New Delhi and is expected to seal deals worth billions of dollars in defence energy and other sectors, Wall Street Journal reports.

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