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Putin Headed for Strategic Visit to India

March 11, 2010 (EIRNS)—Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived at New Delhi late tonight, and will be leaving for Moscow tomorrow. However, within this short period of time, in addition to meeting Indian President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi, he will be signing wide-ranging trade deals worth as much as $10 billion, Indian observers point out.

Perhaps the most important of these agreements will be one on the joint scientific and technological cooperation involving joint research and development of fast neutron reactors (fast breeders). India wants to expand civilian nuclear power cooperation with Russia, and is planning to sign a document on joint nuclear research soon, Srikumar Banerjee, secretary of India's Department of Atomic Energy, told RIA Novosti. He said the document on bilateral nuclear power cooperation, including joint efforts in the creation of fast neutron reactors, was expected to be signed during a this working visit by Putin. Some future plans are for gas-cooled fast reactors. Banerjee said the two countries had prepared a memorandum of understanding in the sphere of civilian nuclear power engineering, which offered the possibility of joint nuclear research. "Now we are discussing the R&D sector, where one of the areas is the fast reactors Indian nuclear energy chief said: "Russia has an advantage: It has a reactor, others can only show papers."

In addition, Putin's India visit is also aimed at boosting cooperation in nanotechnology and bio-technology for development of new pharma drugs, space, and nuclear as well as conventional energy. Commenting on the visit, Director of Centre of Indian Studies of the Science Academy Tatiana Shaumyan said:

Until recently, India was looked as the 'client state,' but today there is the clear understanding that relations with India should be developed as a dialogue partner.