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Russian PM leaves for New Delhi on crucial visit

world Updated: Feb 11, 2008 22:15 IST

PTI
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Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov on Monday left for New Delhi on a crucial visit during which he is expected to reaffirm Moscow's commitment to the strategic ties with India including defence cooperation.

Ways to enhance trade and economic relations will dominate the agenda of Zubkov's two-day visit during which the two sides are expected to sign five agreements, including one in the aviation sector.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Zubkov will hold wide-ranging talks discussing ways to increase two-way trade and economic ties and cooperation in various other fields, sources said.

Zubkov is expected to brief Singh on the forthcoming changes in the Kremlin power structure after the next month's presidential polls when President Vladimir Putin leaves office.

Russian media on Monday reported that Zubkov is believed to be carrying a compromise formula to resolve the issue of upgradation of aircraft carrier 'Admiral Gorshkov' for the Indian Navy.

During his visit, Zubkov will meet President Pratibha Patil and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and leader of the opposition LK Advani and explore ways of enhancing ties between the two countries.

Zubkov is also expected to reassure New Delhi about Russia's committment to continue the policy of strategic ties with India when a new president is elected in the country next month.

The Russian Prime Minister is visiting India to inaugurate the Year of Russia, part of an initiative by President Putin and Prime Minister Singh to enhance people-to-people contacts and exchanges and generate awareness about each-other in their respective countries.