NATIONAL

Gorshkov deal likely this month

MOSCOW NOV. 13. The deal for the purchase of the Russian aircraft-carrier, Admiral Gorshkov, by the Indian Navy is likely to be signed during the coming visit of the Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Ivanov, to India later this month.

This was announced here after the Russian defence chief called on the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, today, to discuss his visit to India on November 26-28 and forthcoming talks with the Defence Minister, George Fernandes.

A Russian Defence Ministry source said that the Gorshkov deal will be finalised during Mr. Ivanov's visit.

Earlier, addressing a joint meeting of Indian and Russian businessmen on the concluding day of his visit to Russia, Mr. Vajpayee, called on the business communities of India and Russia to build dynamic and multi-faceted economic partnership to underpin strategic partnership between the two countries.

India and Russia had registered some of the highest growth rates in recent years — their trade stood at under $1.5 billion. However, he pointed to a ``a huge untapped potential, not only for an exponential growth of bilateral trade and investment, but also for jointly exploring other markets.''

Mr. Vajpayee identified machinery and equipment, IT and telecom, automobile components, gems and jewellery, food processing, tourism, pharmaceuticals and energy as areas for ``focused cooperation'' between India and Russia.