Russia's pointman on India, Sergei Sobyanin, will undertake a three-day trip to New Delhi from Monday to finalise key bilateral nuclear and defence deals ahead of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit next month.
Vice Premier Sobyanin, who will be in India from February 15 to 17, is scheduled to hold parleys with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on key issues and iron out details of pacts to be signed during Putin's visit in mid-March.
He will also call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to finalise the agenda of the Russian strongman's India visit, his first as the Premier.
Putin, the man who calls shots in Russia, is keen on cementing the strategic partnership with New Delhi and wants his maiden visit to India in his new avatar to be fructified with the signing of concrete deals on key pacts.
The deals that are on the cards include pacts on construction of four additional reactors at Kudankulam nuclear power plant site and long-pending commercial contracts for the joint development and production of multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) and fifth-generation fighter jets.
Ahead of Sobyanin's New Delhi visit, Putin, also former President, had called up Singh on February 9 to finalise the agenda of his visit to India in mid-March.
Moscow does not want to take any chances at a time of the reformatting of the global configuration, which the Kremlin fears could end up in a US-China nexus.