Pact on Gorshkov cost, other agreements during Putin visit

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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