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Russian president arrives in India

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh receives the Russian leader who will be chief guest at R-Day parade in Delhi.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 14:35 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh received Russian President Vladimir Putin after he arrived on a two-day visit in the capital on Thursday.

Breaking from usual protocol, Manmohan Singh drove to the Air Force Station at Palam to receive the Russian leader who will be the chief guest at India's Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Friday.

Manmohan has reserved such a special gesture only for US President George Bush, Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Saudi monarch King Abdullah when they visited India last year.

Putin's visit - his fourth to India - signals a new chapter in relationship between the two traditional friends that will focus on increased business ties and civil nuclear cooperation.

Putin headed straight to Hyderabad House from the airport for talks with Manmohan Singh. Nearly 10 agreements in nuclear energy, oil and gas, space, defence, high technology and culture are expected to be signed after the talks.

Putin will hold talks with Manmohan Singh on a wide array of bilateral and global issues, including nuclear energy, terrorism, UN reforms and intensification of trade and investment between the two countries.

Besides a deal on four additional nuclear reactors at the Kudanakulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, the two countries are expected to sign agreements on setting up a joint venture in the power sector, the setting up of a technology transfer centre in Moscow and a pact on operationalising GLONASS, a global satellite-based navigation system.

The two countries plan to collaborate in the joint development of an advanced stealth fighter jet and have already agreed in the production of a multi-role
transport aircraft.

He will also meet the ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition chairman Sonia Gandhi and President APJ Abdul Kalam later in the day.

Putin will meet top business leaders of India on Thursday evening where he may signal a relaxation of the visa regime and showcase Russia's attractiveness as an investment destination.