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India, Russia aim to improve trade, military ties during Putin visit

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a series of meetings with leaders of India’s new government, amid hopes his visit will strengthen trade and military ties. Putin arrived in the Indian capital at 3:00 am (2130 GMT Thursday) and went into his first meeting, with Foreign Minister Natwar Singh less than eight hours later, a foreign ministry official said. The hour-long meeting was to be followed by talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. After that meeting the two sides were to sign a series of agreements, including a joint declaration, and address a joint press conference. The joint statement and declaration would be a pledge to combat terrorism and reinforce the role of the United Nations, Indian officials said, adding that the two sides would also focus on closer cooperation in the energy sector. As well as bolstering defense and trade ties, Putin also hopes to win New Delhi’s support for Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organisation, according to Russian officials. India, for its part, is looking for backing for its push for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Some 10 documents on bilateral, international and global issues are likely to be signed during the visit, the fifth India-Russia summit since 2000. “We on both sides have chalked out a comprehensive agenda for the talks,” an Indian foreign ministry official. Putin heads a delegation including government officials and representatives of Russian armament firms.Full Story

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