Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: India and Russia will seek to consolidate their ties in crucial areas such as atomic energy, space and defence during Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's interaction with top Indian leadership here on Friday.

Indian and Russian diplomats, backed by line Ministry officials, were engaged in intense discussions in several areas with both sides expecting to arrive at a common position on a dozen issues.

Analysts point out that this would be Mr. Putin's fifth visit to the country, perhaps the maximum ever by a top Kremlin leader. Accompanying him would be Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Sobyanin, Kremlin's pointsman for India-Russia ties. The focus would be on military agreements such as developing a military transport aircraft and supplying MiG-29K fighters. Of strategic interest would be the closure of talks on civilian and military utilisation of the Russia Glonass (the Global Navigation Satellite System), the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, as well as an agreement on cooperation in R&D on civil nuclear energy.

“Both sides are engaged in further consolidating the strategic partnership, which was announced during the landmark visit of the then President Putin to India in the year 2000. During the very successful visit of our Prime Minister to Russia last year in December, the sides adopted a ‘Joint Declaration on Deepening the Strategic Partnership to meet Global Challenges.' Ours is a truly multifaceted strategic partnership spanning a whole range of areas such as defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, science and technology, space, economic and trade,” MEA spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said.