Russia's Medvedev to discuss terrorism, nuclear deal on India visit

Dmitry MedvedevNew Delhi - A India-Russia civilian nuclear deal is among several agreements expected to be signed during the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India, who is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi later Thursday, diplomatic officials said.

Increased cooperation in combating terrorism is also expected to figure prominently in Medvedev's discussions with Indian leaders. He is the first head of state to visit India after the Mumbai terror attacks last week.

The Russian president had called Singh on Sunday to express solidarity and sympathy with the people of India and pledged to work closely with New Delhi in fighting terrorism.

Medvedev, who is visiting India for the first time as president, will be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for an annual India-Russia summit on Friday.

"Several documents are expected to be signed or adopted by the two countries during the visit," an Indian Foreign Ministry statement said.

Among them is the civilian nuclear agreement initialled in January 2007 but not signed yet because of the need for a waiver by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and an India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Both came through earlier this year.

Under the pact, Russia would build four additional nuclear reactors at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in southern Tamil Nadu state. The agreement also includes collaboration in setting up plants at new sites.

Ways to boost trade ties is expected to be another area of focus. Russia and India plan to increase bilateral trade from the current 7 billion dollars to 10 billion by 2010.

The space organizations of the two nations are also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of manned space flights, the PTI news agency reported.

India sent its first unmanned mission to the moon in October.

The financial watchdogs of the two countries are expected to sign an agreement on combating money-laundering by criminal elements.

Medvedev, who will be accorded a ceremonial reception at the presidential palace in the Indian capital on Friday, is scheduled to meet Indian President Pratibha Patil, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and leader of the opposition LK Advani later that day.

He returns to Moscow on Saturday. (dpa)