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India, Russia keen on bolstering bilateral relations
December 03, 2005 20:37 IST
With their bilateral relations reaching an unprecedented level of intensity, India and Russia have decided to focus on forging a long-standing energy partnership and sign major agreements on space and defence cooperation at the sixth summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
The prime minister, who leaves for Moscow on a three-day visit on Sunday, recently said in an interview to a Russian daily, "The Indian-Russian dialogue in various spheres has reached an unprecedented level of intensity."
Complete Coverage: PM's tour to Russia
In line with Dr Singh's statement, the two sides would sign four agreements, including the crucial military Intellectual Property Right agreement and another to amend the Indo-Russian Military-Technical Programme till 2010 for enhancing and expanding strategic partnership relations.
The space agencies of the two countries would also sign a Technology Safeguard Agreement to operationalise the 2004 pact on the joint use of space-based Global Navigational Satellite System to provide for joint development of new generation navigational satellites and their launch from Indian launch vehicles.
India's ISRO and Russian Space Agency Roskosmos would also ink an agreement on cooperation in Solar Physics and geophysical research.
On the energy cooperation front, India is considering participating in Sakhalin-III oil and gas project and bidding for exploration blocks in the Siberia region, besides being keenly interested in equity partnership with Russian oil majors like Gazprom.
India has already acquired a major stake in the Sakhalin-I oil and gas project.
Moscow is interested in participating in the construction of transnational gas pipelines between Iran-Pakistan-India as also Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and India.
The two countries have grown from a vendor-client relationship in defence cooperation to one aimed at joint research, development and marketing of products, as is being seen in the case of the jointly-produced BrahMos cruise missile.
The prime minister, who is being accompanied by a large business delegation, would stress on enhancing bilateral trade between the two nations.
It has been decided to set up a Joint Study Group to look at increasing the trade volumes and establishing new partnerships. Both Indian and Russian banks have shown interest in setting up branches in the two countries.
The two countries will also work out ways to utilise the large Rupee Fund for investment purposes.
While India has urged Russia to liberalise the visa regime especially for business and tourism purposes, no accord to simplifying the visa process is to be signed during Singh's visit.
In an interview to a Moscow magazine, Russian envoy to India Vyacheslav Trubnikov has said though no accord on the simplified visa rules would be signed, a draft has been prepared to meet the needs of Indian business travellers.
"We view this agreement as part of a package deal that would also include an agreement on readmission, which is essential to prevent illegal migration between the two countries", he said.
Given the broad-ranging agenda of bilateral issues, the two sides have agreed to prepare a check-list during the visit to monitor the progress made in implementation of various decisions.
The Indo-Pak peace process and recent developments in this regard are also likely to be discussed between Putin and Dr Singh in the context of talks on regional and global issues.
The summit-level discussions will include defence cooperation in joint development of new-generation platforms, including the fifth generation fighter, multi-role transport aircraft and a deal on new stealth frigates.
The two leaders will also hold parleys on key global issues including UN reforms and UN Security Council expansion, Iraq, Iran nuclear issue, fight against terrorism and Central Asia including the narco-threat and regrouping of Taliban in
Dr Singh would also be conferred with a honorary professor degree of the Moscow State University.