Putin to hold talks with Manmohan Singh Monday


New Delhi : Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives here early Monday for an over 15-hour visit for the annual India-Russia bilateral summit that will see both sides ink multi-billion dollar defence pacts.

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Putin, who touches down past midnight, will hold delegation level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at 11.30 a.m. at Hyderabad House, after which the two sides will ink the agreements.

The Russian president is to call on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the afternoon. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj are to call on Putin at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Putin will leave for home at 4.30 p.m.

Putin, who entered the Kremlin as president in May, last visited India as prime minister in 2010.

Ahead of the visit, the Kremlin said Putin will discuss “concrete steps to further develop strategic partnership” in trade, investment, military and energy policy.

Defence deals worth $7 billion could prove to be the show-stealer. The highlight will be a contract, worth around $4 billion, to buy additional Sukhoi 30 MKI fighters equipped with the Brahmos cruise missiles, an Indo-Russian joint venture.

India has already signed a pact for delivery of 80 Mi-17 V5 helicopters, of which 42 have already been inducted since February this year.

Russia accounts for over 60 percent of India’s military hardware. On the trade front, the two sides are expected to reiterate the target for scaling up bilateral trade to $20 billion.