Head Of Russian Foreign Ministry Leaves For India On Three-day Official Visit

Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Igor Ivanov is leaving today for India on a three-day official visit. As the RIA Novosti correspondent reports, in New Delhi the Russian Minister will hold talks with Prime-Minister of the country Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence Jaswant Singh, and with the Prime-Minister's national security adviser Brajesh Mishra. It is expected that President of India Kocheril Raman Narayanan will receive the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry. It is planned that Igor Ivanov will discuss with the Indian leadership questions of bilateral relations, regional and international problems, the questions of strategic stability and nuclear non-proliferation, and measures to counter international terrorism and extremism. The Russian Minister's visit will become an important step in the preparation for the forthcoming visit of Prime-Minister of India Vajpayee to Russia. The development of economic and military-technical cooperation between the two countries will also be an important item on the agenda. In Moscow and New Delhi they note that the level of trade and economic relations disaccords with the two countries' potentialities and requirements. In the sides' opinion, a number of joint projects will make it possible to change this situation. Their list includes the construction of the Kudan Kulam nuclear power plant, the participation of the Indian state company ONGC in the development of the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas deposit (the Indian investments will amount to 1.7 billion dollars), Gazprom's participation in the development of a gas deposit on Bay of Bengal shelf, the project of the North-South international transport corridor, and cooperation in trade in uncut diamonds and precious metals. Development of bilateral military-technical cooperation also looks promising. The agreement on sale of 310 T-90S tanks to India was signed during the visit of Russian Vice-Premier Ilya Klebanov to that country last February. But, as Moscow stresses, cooperation in this sphere does not boil down to supplies of arms and military hardware but also includes a number of joint projects and developments. Production of some types of weapons in India under Russian licenses is being established. The agreement on license production of 140 Su-30MKI multipurpose aircraft at the Hindustan Aeronautics state enterprise was signed at the end of last December.

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