Putin on visit to India in effort to boost trade

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RUSSIA’S president Vladimir Putin arrives in India today on a visit intended to help cement his country’s position in the growing Indian market and reinvigorate political ties.

Moscow and New Delhi are expected to sign agreements on trade, science, education and law enforcement.

While the volume of Russian-Indian trade has risen sixfold since 2000 and is expected to reach £6.2 billion this year, the growth has slowed in recent years. Even though India remains the No. 1 customer for Russia’s arms industries, Moscow has recently lost several multibillion-dollar contracts to Western weapons-makers.

Russia and India have shared close ties since the Cold War, when Moscow was a key ally and the principal arms supplier to New Delhi. The ties slackened after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but grew stronger again after Mr Putin came to power in 2000, seeking to revive Moscow’s global clout and restore ties with old allies.

Russia has maintained its strong positions in the Indian market with £18.6bn worth of arms contracts with India signed in the period 2000-2010 that envisaged supplies of hundreds of fighter jets, missiles, tanks and other weapons. The countries have cooperated on building an advanced fighter plane and a new transport aircraft and have jointly developed a supersonic cruise missile.