Russian PM Zubkov meets Pranab Mukherjee, Chidambaram (Lead: Russian PM)

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New Delhi, Feb 12 : Russian Prime Minister Victor A Zubkov on Tuesday met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram.

Zubkov, who arrived here on a three-day official visit late last night, also met Leader of the Opposition L K Advani.

The visiting Prime Minister is also scheduled to hold delegation level talks with his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh this afternoon.

India and Russia are expected to sign five agreements, including one each relating to cooperation in the telecom and aviation sectors.

The two sides will seek to enhance bilateral trade volume to 10 billion US dollars by 2010.

Presently, bilateral trade is pegged at four billion dollars, which is far less than the Russia-China and Russia-European Union bilateral trade volumes, which are 35 billion dollars and 200 billion Euros respectively.

The issue of civil nuclear cooperation may also figure in the talks. India was expected to sign a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Russia during Prime Minister Singh's visit, but the pact did not materialize. The pact was expected to have a separate component for the construction of four additional nuclear power generation units in Kundankulam, Tamil Nadu.

It was not signed due to a lack of India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

India and Russia are working towards a possible collaboration on uranium mining in Jharkhand.

The two sides are also likely to work together on a titanium project in Gopalpur, Orissa.

The Russian Prime Minister will call on President Pratibha Patil and Vice President Hamid Ansari in the evening.

On Tuesday, he will attend the opening ceremony of the "Year of Russia" at Purana Qila in Delhi.

Before leaving for Moscow on Wednesday from Delhi, Zubkov will pay a visit to Agra.

ANI

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