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Russia's Putin to discuss trade with Modi during India visit

Saturday, December 6, 2014 - 07:17
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In this photograph taken on Jul 15, 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi during a brief visit to New Delhi next week, an India government official said on Friday.

[NEW DELHI] Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi during a brief visit to New Delhi next week, an India government official said Friday.

Mr Putin is expected to land in the Indian capital late on Wednesday along with an entourage of government officials and chief executive officers from top companies to attend the 15th annual India-Russia summit.

The visit will be Mr Putin's first since Mr Modi swept to power in May and is expected to focus on boosting two-way trade, which currently stands at US$10 billion (S$13.2 billion), Indian government officials said.

"Bilateral, economic, commercial and investment ties between Russia have been growing, but are way below potential," a senior New Delhi official said.

The leaders of the longtime allies will sign more than 15 agreements, with discussions on the profitable rough diamond trade also expected to take place.

Russia is the world's largest diamond producer while India has the biggest diamond polishing and cutting centre on the planet.

A Russian source said Mr Putin will attend a world diamond conference in Delhi on Thursday.

Mr Putin's trip comes a month before US President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit New Delhi. Mr Obama will be a special guest at India's Republic Day celebrations on January 26.

AFP