Indian Premier Arrives in Moscow For Summit

MOSCOW, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Moscow Sunday for an official visit, during which he is due meet President Vladimir Putin and sign a series of agreements on trade, nuclear energy and defense equipment.

Monday will be the first working day of the visit, the 14th annual Russian-Indian summit, when Putin and Singh will hold talks.

The two sides are also expected to sign deals in the spheres of “science and technology and energy efficiency,” according to the Indian Foreign Ministry.

According to Indian media, the talks are also likely to focus on defense procurement and cooperation, one of the central planks of the Indian-Russian bilateral relationship.

That is likely to include an Indian request for lease of a second nuclear-powered submarine from Moscow, following the lease of the INS Chakra attack boat in 2012.

The Deccan Herald reports Delhi wants to finance the completion of an Alfa Class submarine that was started during the Soviet era but not completed due to the funding collapse following the demise of the USSR. The deal could be worth 60 billion Rupees ($983 million) the paper says.

Nuclear power is another key area for cooperation, with talks likely on India’s acquisition of a third and fourth block for the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.

The visit comes just three weeks before Russia prepares to hand over a refitted aircraft carrier to India for its navy, after a long-delayed and much over budget refit of the vessel.

The Vikramaditya, formerly the Admiral Gorshkov, is due to set sail for India in mid-November.

Foreign affairs will also be on the agenda, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, with the security situation in Afghanistan of concern to both sides ahead of the withdrawal of international security forces next year.

“At the end of the meeting, a joint statement is planned, reflecting the approach of both sides to the further development of the strategic partnership, including our growing trade and economic cooperation and coordinated cooperation in current international affairs,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Prime Minister Singh will also visit the Moscow State Institute for International Affairs (MGIMO) to receive an honorary diploma. After visiting Russia, he will fly to China on October 22 for a further official visit.


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