PM arrives in Moscow; meets Putin tomorrow

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Moscow, Nov 11 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here today on a two-day official visit to Moscow during which he will hold crucial talks with President Vladimir Putin and witness signing of several accords between India and Russia, including one on joint production of multi-role transport aircraft (MRTA).

The Prime Minister, who is accompanied by a high-level delegation, was received at the airport by Indian Ambassador to Russia Prabhat Shukla and senior Indian and Russian officials. His delegation includes National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon and Mr T K A Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

The Indian envoy is hosting a reception tonight in honour of the Prime Minister, to be attended by members of the Indian community.

Tomorrow morning, Dr Singh 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.

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 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.

UNI

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