PM leaves for home after whirlwind Russia visit

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left for home after a major breakthrough in relations with Russia on sensitive matters such as opening the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, and stitching up a possible future deal with a three-nation custom union that also involves Belarus and Kazakhstan

Manmohan Singh, who was here from Thursday evening, held daylong bilateral summit talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin when they furthered the bilateral special and privileged strategic partnership and renewed personal friendship. 

Accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur and a delegation comprising National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menion, Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterji, and secretaries from the ministries of external affairs, defence, science and technology, petroleum and natural gas, and industrial policy and promotion, Manmohan Singh held a three-hour meeting with Medvedev and an hour-long meeting with Putin. 

He felicitated and congratulated the two Russian leaders on the successful outcome of the Dec 4 Duma polls that had stirred public protests on the streets of Moscow and other Russian cities over opposition allegations of rigging. 

He also got Russia to reiterate its support for India's bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council apart from memberships of the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group and the regional grouping Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. 

India and Russia signed agreements in five key areas, including licensed production of 42 Sukhoi frontline combat planes for the Indian Air Force (IAF) by the defence public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, taking the aircraft fleet in the air force inventory to 272 planes. 

Among the other agreements were one on India helping Russia with safe management of fly ash from their thermal power plants, as also that of India's in Russian region of Siberia. 

With economics and trade as the key focus, Manmohan Singh and Medvedev also attended a meeting of Indian and Russian captains of industry. 

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