Syria will top the international agenda of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s visit to Moscow this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Mr. Khurshid is visiting Russia on October 2-4 to prepare an annual summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Vladimir Putin in Moscow later this month. Apart from talks with Sergei Lavrov, the External Affairs Minister will co-chair the Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Commission (IRIGC) with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

At the talks between Mr. Khurshid and his Russian counterpart, Mr. Lavrov “special attention will be paid to the situation in Syria, the Middle East and North Africa, to interaction in the United Nations, as well as in BRICS and SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation),” Alexander Lukashevich, official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told the RIA Novosti news agency.

The Indo-Russian economic talks will focus on joint investment projects, the spokesman said. An Indo-Russian working group on priority investment projects will hold its first meeting during Mr. Khurshid’s Moscow visit.

Mr. Lukashevich lauded the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) with two Russian-made reactors as a “successful example” of cooperation between the two countries. He, however, said nothing about progress in talks on a deal to build Units 3 and 4 at Kudankulam, which have been stalled over India’s insistence that the Russian supplier should bear liability for possible reactor accidents.

Trade between India and Russia last year soared by nearly 25 per cent to a “record level of $11 billion,” the Russian spokesman said, and is expected to rise further this year.