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Cooperation

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Diplomacy Trusted and reliable strategic partnership was confirmed during the visit

Putin strengthens India-Russia ties continued from page 1

The brief visit of Putin, his first to India since he moved to his new position as the prime minister of Russia two years ago,was marked by several breakthroughs and win-win deals, taking bilateral ties to a new high,a fitting finale to the“Putin Decade”in bilateral ties. It was, after all,Putin,who visited India within months of assuming presidency in October 2000 and signed the historic Declaration on Strategic Partnership, with

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Highlights of the visit

1.

Nuclear deal Under the new agreement, Russia will build upto 16 nuclear reactors in India. "The agreement sees construction of upto 16 nuclear reactors in three locations," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

2.

fighter jet contract Russia and India have signed a $1.5 bn contract on the supplies of 29 more MiG29K Fulcrum-D carrier-based fighter jets. The start of the supplies is scheduled for 2012.

3.

Glonass project A joint venture will be established to produce navigation equipment for GPS and its Russian equivalent GLONASS, including the use of the GLONASS system for defense needs.

4.

Gorshkov deal The two countries have signed a deal on upgrading the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, following an earlier statement from the Indian government's security committee, it would allocate $2.3 bn to refit the ship.

an old friend.The timely and farsighted diplomacy reversed the drift of the post-Cold war 1990s and established a template for refashioning India-Russia ties in tune with the changing realities of the 21st century. Ten years later,although he came to India this time as the head of the government,the Putin legacy was bearing fruit in myriad ways.During his brief but significant visit, the two sides vowed to end years of stagnation in economic ties by inking a clutch of pacts on oil exploration,trade in diamonds and import of fertilizers.These pacts have the potential to add more heft to current bilateral trade of $7.5 bn. Putin also vowed to boost banking cooperation with India through joint ventures and offered state financial aid for Indian telecoms unit of Russian conglomerate Sistema. "There is political will on both sides, but we need support from the captains of industry," Putin said."We should think about the future." The defence ties, the bedrock of the India-Russia relationship for decades, saw a renewed surge as the two sides inked a military aviation agreement and sealed deals worth at least $4 bn that included Russia supplying 29 MiG29K fighter jets, a Multi-Role Transport Aircraft and the joint development of fifth generation aircraft that promises to provide a new ballast to the Indian air force. The freezing of the renegotiated prize for retrofitted aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, renamed by India as INSVikramaditya,at $2.3 bn removed a recent irritant in bilateral ties, and reinforced Russia’s position as India’s top supplier of military hardware despite competition from the US, France and China. Russia also agreed to provide India exclusive access to military signals from GLONASS global positioning system (GPS) that will enable the precise targeting of guided missiles. Responding to India’s surging economy and its energy needs,

Putin,who had batted vigorously for ending nuclear embargo for India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, announced his country’s full support for India in all areas of civil nuclear cooperation, including the disposal of nuclear waste.This commitment was reflected in the signing of an intergovernmental cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear enIndia could provide Russia a third site for the con ergy, initialled during Indian plants. "There is Haripur, there is Kudankulam, an Prime Minister ManmoSergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's state-controlle han Singh's trip to MosRosatom. A total of 12 nuclear power units are to cow in December last THE QUOTE year, and another one laying out a roadmap for serial construction of Russian-design reactors. A separate comRegardless of my office, it primarily highlights our virmercial contract bewhen I come to India I tually coinciding geopolitical tween India's public always feel that India has interests... When I come to India, sector nuclear monopobeen our strategic partner for I have only one objective: to ly NPCIL and Russia's many decades. Although this facilitate expanded inter-state Atomstroy Export was reflects the mutual sympathies relations and direct contacts also inked for building of Russian and Indian nations, between our nations. two more civil nuclear reactors of 1,000 Mw konstantin zavrazhin_Rg each at Kudankulam in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu where Moscow is al- Moved by his unwavering comready building two reactors. If mitment to rebuilding closer this upward trend continues, strategic ties with India, ManRussia could end up building mohan Singh, was generous in upto 16 nuclear reactors in India, his praise. Describing Putin as giving it the first mover advan- “a great friend of India,”Mantage over other competitors like mohan Singh said at a joint winner by far. He has generated the US and France in India's press conference:“Prime MinisVickram Bahl more questions for me than any multi-billion dollar nuclear pie. ter Putin has been the architect Editor in Chief, other. People from varied social "This is one of our major, far- of the strategic partnership beITMN TV and economic groups want to reaching, promising areas of in- tween India and Russia, and we from personal archives owe a deep sense of gratitude to know more about the man and teraction," Putin said. what were my impressions On the strategic front, the talks him for bringing our countries turned out to be a meeting of so close to each other.”In a trib- After all these years of hosting about him. That seems strange minds. Putin shared India’s dis- ute to what is clearly the ‘Putin interesting people on television because Putin is an open man taste for the potential relapse of Decade’ in bilateral ties, Man- shows, the questions that I am and loves to interact with peoAfghanistan intoTaliban barba- mohan Singh underlined that often asked are ‘Who has been ple. rism and vowed to step up coop- the relations with Russia“are a your most interesting guest?’ My interaction with him has eration in combating terrorism key pillar of India’s foreign pol- and‘How was he (or she) in per- been on two occasions – in 2007, and on issues relating to the sta- icy,”adding:“We regard Russia son?’.The first one is easy to an- I interviewed him while he was bility of the Afghanistan-Paki- as a trusted and reliable strate- swer since all my guests have President, for my TV progic partner.”Putin smiled, bask- something out of the ordinary to gramme, Insight withVickram stan region. Taking note of New Delhi’s anx- ing in the glow of restoring vi- offer. I tell them to wait for my Bahl and during his March 2010 ieties about the threat to the re- tality in a critical relationship book. The second question is visit to India where I moderated gion posed by terror groups op- that has withstood the vagaries usually about a specific inter- his live Internet interaction with erating from Pakistan, Putin as- of changing geopolitics and view and what people are really people from three centres across serted that Moscow will not continues to remain central to curious about is to know about India asking him wide ranging enter into any defence deal with core interests of both countries the person beyond what is pre- questions. Islamabad“because of our Indi- in an emerging multi-polar sented on their screens. In this area,Vladimir Putin is a CONTINUED on PAGE 5 world. an friends' concerns.”

Vladimir Putin:

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Vickram Bahl: Putin is a people person

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