India, Russia to ink key pacts during Singh's Moscow visit

Singh, who is visiting Moscow at the invitation of President Dmitry Medvedev for the annual Indo-Russian summit, is expected to discuss a range of issues during his meetings here, including defence cooperation, global financial crisis, situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and fight against terrorism, diplomatic sources said.

During Singh-Medvedev talks at the Kremlin on Monday, the two leaders would also focus on key bilateral issues, such as continuation of civilian nuclear cooperation beyond Kudankulam power plant and exploration of new vistas in the areas of space and knowledge-based economic projects.

The two countries are likely to sign several bilateral agreements after the Kremlin talks, such as pacts on the extension of long-term defence cooperation programme beyond 2010 and construction of four more nuclear reactors at the Kudankulam NPP, in addition to two 1000 VVER light water reactors already being built by Russia, the sources said.

Given the format of the Kremlin power structure, Singh is expected to hold talks with the Russian strongman, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the concrete economic issues, including on some possible joint projects in pharmaceuticals and conventional energy, the sources here said.

On December 7, the Prime Minister will also attend the closing ceremony of the 'Year of India in Russia' at a gala show being organised in the new hall of Bolshoi Theatre.
The meeting of the CEOs Council would be the main event on the sidelines of the Prime Minister's Moscow visit, indicating the two countries' resolve to promote business-to-business ties.

The Indo-Russian CEOs' Council is co-chaired by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)'s Mukesh Ambani and Russian business conglomerate AFK Sistema's Vladimir Evtushenkov.
Ahead of Singh's visit, Russian Trade and Industry Chamber has set up an Indo-Russian Joint Business Council.

"India is among the leading political and economic partners of Russia. It is extremely important that the Russian business should be involved in benefiting from India's potential in trade relations," Vice President of the Russian Chamber, Georgy Petrov, said.

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