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Putin Visiting India For Defense, Nuclear Deals

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (right) with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (file photo)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is due in India today.

While in New Delhi, Putin hopes to sign deals worth more than $10 billion, mainly in defense and for nuclear reactors.

Putin will also try to boost bilateral trade -- currently at $8 billion -- to $20 billion by 2015.

India wants Russia to relax visa rules to allow more Indian business into Russia.

In an interview with Reuters, Putin's deputy, Sergei Sobyanin, said India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp had expressed interest in developing oil and gas fields on Russia's Yamal peninsula and was holding talks with Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom on the issue.

Sobyanin said Russia and India would also sign a contract for the long-delayed delivery of a refurbished Soviet-era aircraft carrier.

He said Russia had almost completed equipment delivery for two reactors at Kudankulam nuclear power station and was in talks to build two more reactors.

Sabyanin said Russia was also ready to start nuclear plant construction in Haripur in West Bengal.

India is a long time Russian ally and gets up to 70 percent of its weapons from Moscow.

Lately, however, India has begun buying weapons from the United States and Israel as well.

compiled from agency reports