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Natwar to discuss N-deal, Iran with Russia
October 23, 2005 15:28 IST
Moscow's support for amending the Nuclear Supplier Groups' guidelines, strategy on Iran nuke dossier, bilateral trade and energy cooperation will be high on India's agenda as External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh begins a four-day visit to Russia on Tuesday.
In his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders, Singh is expected to brief them on Indo-US dialogue on nuclear cooperation and seek Moscow's backing in amending the guidelines of the NSG – a grouping of select nations possessing nuclear technology.
Diplomatic sources also indicated that the Indian minister may brief the Russian leadership on the progress made in India-Pakistan composite dialogue.
Singh's meetings, also with his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, are expected to focus on India's energy security and boosting bilateral cooperation in the fields of hydrocarbons and civil nuclear energy.
The situation in Iraq, Central Asia, anti-terror combat and Iran's nuclear dossier would also be high on the agenda of Singh's Moscow talks.
"We would also be keen to get Russia's assessment on the Iran situation," a senior Indian diplomat, who requested anonymity, said.
Singh would also finalise the economic agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's summit-level talks with Putin in Moscow later, besides attending the fourth session of the heads of the governments of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, where India has been granted an observer status.
Along with India, Pakistan and Iran were also given observer status of this regional organisation initially set up by Russia, China and four Central Asian republics as a confidence building measure along the former Sino-Soviet border.
Along with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, Singh will co-chair the 11th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on trade, economic, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation to finalise the economic agenda of the Prime Minister's forthcoming summit talks with Putin in December.
Sub-divided in five working groups IRIGC is expected to focus on thrust areas including cooperation in the field of energy, IT and other cutting edge technologies to boost the bilateral trade from current USD 3 billion to a decent level.
As compared to around three billion dollar trade turnover with India, the level of Russia's trade with China is expected to touch USD 28 billion mark by the end of this year.
Singh is also expected to raise the problem of obtaining Russian business visa by Indian entrepreneurs.
"We want the Russian government to ease the rules for issuing business visas to the Indian businessmen as it affects the functionality of their business in Russia," a diplomat said.