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Putin Hosts Indian Prime Minister --> Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (file photo) (epa) 6 December 2005 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are meeting for talks expected to focus on energy and security cooperation and growing sales of Russian military hardware to New Delhi.

At the start of talks in the Kremlin, Putin praised the "strategic nature" of India's relations with Russia.

India says it is spending nearly $9 billion on Russian weapons and military equipment, and accounts for nearly 40 percent of Russia's exports of military hardware.

India and Russia held joint naval exercises in October.

On 5 December, Singh met for talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, later said there was a possibility Moscow and New Delhi could jointly use a military airfield in Tajikistan.

(Associated Press)