Strategic, mil ties to be strengthened in Russian PM visit

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New Delhi, Feb 1 (UNI) Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov arrives here on February 12 to further cement the strategic and military ties with India and evolve a new commercial partnership with Indian industry to take bilateral trade to 10 billion dollars by 2010.

Mr Zubkov, who will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, will have wideranging talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders to bring about complete understanding on defence and strategic matters, Deputy Chief of Mission in the Russian Embassy Andrei Sorokin said here at at a function ''2008-the Year of Russia in India ''here last night. ''The relations between the two nations are excellant and warm,'' he added.

Mr Sorokin said that the visit is very important as it would provide an opportunity to the two sides to extensively discuss the whole gamut of bilateral ties, which have been somewhat lukewarm in the recent past.

Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, former Governor Bhisma Narain Singh and several diplomats and members of parliament attended the function, organised by the Unity International Foundation.

Mr Fernandes said that Russia fulfills 50 per cent of India's defence requirement, and had supported India during its critical period. The two countries enjoy excellent relations in all sectors but the economic relations had not maintained momentum,'' he admitted.

Secretary General of the Unity International Foundation R N Anil said that India-Russian relations are very strong and stated these ties are"devoid of any alien or egoistic contest. ''There has never been any hostility or voice onf conflict in the bilateral ties,'' he said.

UNI/SMA VD HT1455

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