PM leaves for Russia tomorrow;key accords to be signed during visit

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New Delhi, Nov 10 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves here tomorrow on a two-day visit to Moscow for an annual summit with President Vladimir Putin and to witness the signing of key agreements between India and Russia in different fields, including one on jointly developing and producing multi-role transport aircraft (MRTA).

Dr Singh will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, which includes National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon and Mr T K A Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

Ways to strengthen bilateral trade, expand energy cooperation and bolster defence ties are expected to be high on the agenda of Dr Singh and President Putin when they meet at the Kremlin on Monday as part of the structured annual dialogue between the leaders of the two countries, a process which started seven years ago.

Bilateral cooperation in the nuclear energy area is likely to get momentum with reports suggesting that the two countries will sign an agreement for building four more nuclear reactors in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. As per the existing Memorandum of Understanding, the ongoing cooperation covered construction of two 1,000 mw nuclear reactors in Kudankulam.

Officials were, however, tight-lipped on the number of accords being finalised for signature during the course of the visit.

According to the itinerary worked out for the visit, the Prime Minister would reach Moscow on Sunday evening. Soon after his arrival, Indian Ambassador to Russia Prabhat Shukla will host a reception in honour of Dr Singh, to be attended by members of the Indian community in Moscow.

On Monday, the Prime Minister will lay a wreath at the ''Unknown Soldiers'' memorial before meeting his Russian counterpart Viktor Zhukov. This will be followed by his meeting with President Putin and then delegation-level talks.

After the signing of agreements between the two sides, Dr Singh and President Putin will hold a joint press conference. The Russian leader is also hosting a banquet in honour of the Indian Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister will also address a business meet before flying out of the Russian capital on Monday night. He is expected to reach New Delhi in the early hours of Tuesday.

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