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    Putin begins working visit to India

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    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin started his working visit to India late on Thursday.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin started his working visit to India late on Thursday.

    Around 15 documents worth over $10 billion are expected to be signed during the visit, including a nuclear cooperation agreement on the construction of new power units at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in southern India.

    Putin and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh will also sign a number of military contracts, including an additional contract for the upgrade and retrofitting of the Admiral Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya) aircraft carrier and a deal on delivery of MiG-29K/KUB carrier-based fighters.

    Further agreements will include a fifth generation fighter aircraft project and work on a multi-role transport aircraft.

    India has a long history of defense ties with Moscow. The current cooperation program comprises about 200 joint projects, including the transfer of technology for the licensed assembly of T-90 tanks in India, the production of BrahMos missiles and the purchase of Smerch MLRS by India.

    By signing the deals the two states expect to boost bilateral trade from $7.5 million in 2009 to estimated $10 billion in late 2010 and $20 billion in 2015.

    During the visit, the Russian premier is also expected to meet with Indian President Pratibha Patil and hold an online conference with the Indian cities of Calcutta, Bangalore and Mumbai.

    This is Putin's first visit to India as the head of the Russian government. During his two presidential terms, he paid four visits to the country - in 2000, in 2002, 2004 and 2007.

    NEW DELHI, March 12 (RIA Novosti)

     

     

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