India and Russia have reached a broad agreement to break the logjam over the protracted price renegotiation over the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier and the two sides are expected to sign a landmark civil nuclear pact during summit talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday.
Seeking to resolve the Gorshkov price issue, an irritant in bilateral ties, the two countries have worked out a general agreement, sources said. A pact in this regard, however, is unlikely to be signed during Dr Singh's visit to Moscow.
The prime minister arrived in Moscow on a three-day visit, his sixth trip to Russia since 2004, that will also see the inking of three agreements in the field of defence, including one for ending ad-hocism in servicing Russian military equipment.
As a special gesture, the Russian President will host a private dinner for Dr Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur at his countryside residence in Barvikha outside Moscow.
The path-breaking civil nuclear pact is significant as it will ensure uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies from Russia, in the event of the termination of bilateral ties in this field for any reason, the sources said.
The agreement is considered by India as a 'major improvement' over the 123 pact with the United States, which provides for not just termination of ongoing cooperation but also for the return to the country of already supplied components and fuel, in the event of the accord being scrapped.
Dr Singh was received by First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov and other government officials, in accordance with Russian protocol, at the VVIP Vnukovo-2 airport where he was accorded a red carpet welcome.
Indian Ambassador to Russia Prabhat Prakash Shukla and senior Indian diplomats were also present at the airport to receive Dr Singh.
In a statement, Dr Singh said he will review with President Dmitry Medvedev the status of bilateral cooperation, including in the key areas of defence, civil nuclear energy, space and hydrocarbons, at the annual summit on Monday.
"The Annual Summit is the principal mechanism for the advancement of our strategic partnership with Russia. This is a partnership based on the solid foundation of long-standing friendship, deep mutual trust and strong convergence of interests," Dr Singh said.
He noted that over the years, Indo-Russian multifaceted cooperation has acquired greater depth and maturity through joint efforts.
"We seek to strengthen these ties further. I am confident that my visit will be yet another step forward in consolidating our cooperation with Russia and in reinforcing the fact that India-Russia strategic partnership is a factor of peace and stability in the evolving international situation," he said.
Dr Singh, who will be undertaking his sixth visit to Russia since 2004, said he will also meet Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, under whose presidency the annual dialogue was set up.
Reflecting the depth of their cooperation in defence, India and Russia will sign three agreements in this key field, including one for ending ad-hocism in servicing Russian military equipment. India also hopes to sign an inter-governmental framework agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear field.
During the summit-level talks, tough anti-terrorism steps, expansion of civil nuclear ties and defence cooperation and measures to give a boost to sluggish bilateral trade ties will be high on the agenda.
Dr Singh and Medvedev will discuss the problem of terrorism emanating from Pakistan and Afghanistan amid India's hopes that Russia, as a great power, could convince Islamabad not to use terror against New Delhi as an instrument of state policy.
Besides the agreement relating to After Sales Support that entails supplies of spare parts, etc to the defence equipment procured from Russia, the other two pacts to be inked relates to Military Technical Cooperation and a pact on Supplement to Agreement on Multi-Role Transport Aircraft.