Pact on Gorshkov cost, other agreements during Putin visit
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2010, 22:36
  
New Delhi: To further consolidate their strategic partnership, India and Russia will be inking several pacts ranging from defence to civil nuclear sectors worth over USD 10 billion tomorrow during Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin's visit which will also see signing of the much-delayed agreement for aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov's cost.

Besides bilateral, issues of regional and international importance such as Afghanistan and Pakistan are also expected to be discussed prominently during the meeting between Putin and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

Putin will be accompanied by a "high-powered" delegation comprising several ministers and senior officials including Deputy Prime Ministers Sergei Ivanov and Sergei Sobyanin. A 15-member business delegation from Russia will also be here during Putin's visit.

Coming three months after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Russia in December 2009, Putin's India trip will further enhance the bilateral technological and energy cooperation, Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.

On the pacts, the officials said "supplementary agreements pertaining to costing and technical details of the aircraft carrier will be signed."

Putin, who will arrive here at midnight tonight, will call on President Pratibha Patil and meet UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi during his brief visit of nearly 24 hours.

Asked if Putin and Singh will discuss Afghanistan, Prakash said they will hold talks on a host of bilateral and regional issues as both countries have "common concern" on the situation and agrees that sustained effort was needed by the international community to fight terrorism.

Setting a positive tone for tomorrow's talks, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) yesterday cleared the USD 2.35 billion fresh price for the Admiral Gorshkov.

The long-delayed renegotiated pact for the carrier, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, will be among the defence deals worth USD four billion that are expected to be finalised during Putin's visit.

The warship, purchased originally at a price of USD 974 million, is currently undergoing a refit at the Russian Sevmash shipyard.

Along with the warship, India had also bought 16 MiG-29K naval fighter aircraft for USD 526 million. The first four of these fighters were delivered to India on December 4 last year and were inducted into the Navy on February 18 this year.

A number of defence contracts like the USD 1.2 billion deal for 29 MiG-29K maritime fighters and the joint development of the stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) are also likely to be finalised during Putin's visit with the officials here maintaining that there were "on-going" discussions between the two sides.

India is also likely to press for an access to Russian nuclear reprocessing technology, to take forward the civil nuclear ties.

The visit is also expected to give boost to the trade ties as the two countries aim at taking their bilateral trade to USD 20 billion by 2015. Currently, the trade turnover is USD 7.5 billion.

Other issues such as smooth visa regime for Indian businessmen and cooperation in the fields of space, culture, fertilisers and hydrocarbons will also figure during the discussions between the two sides.

-PTI


First Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010, 22:36


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