MOSCOW, October 21 (Itar-Tass) – The situation in the Middle East and North Africa, technical military cooperation and interaction in hi-tech fields are the main themes to be discussed in the Kremlin here on Monday at talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. As a result of the talks, the sides are to adopt a Joint Statement, and sign several intergovernmental agreements.

A presidential press service official pointed out that the prospective statement would reflect “the two countries’ approaches to a further development of strategic partnership, including stepping up trade-and-economic cooperation and coordinating interaction on international matters of current importance”.

Bilateral relations proper, in the Kremlin’s estimate, are having the “special character of privileged strategic partnership”. During the meeting, Putin and Singh are to exchange views on regional and world problems, the situation in Afghanistan, in the Middle East and in North Africa. Prior to ariving in Moscow, the Indian Premier admitted “I am lauding th efforts being made by President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government to promote a political settlement of the conflict and I am fully supporting the approach worked out by Russia together with the United States for eliminating chemical weapons in Syria within a specific timeframe”.

The Kremlin press service official said, “A number of bilateral intergovernmental agreements have been prepared for signature”. These include an interstate Treaty on transfer of persons convicted to deprivation of freedom, an agreement on wider interaction in the fields of energy effectiveness, biotechnologies, as well as a programme for cooperation in science and technologies.

Kremlin is satisfied with the persistently positive dynamic development of trade-and-economic contacts. In 2012, trade turnover reached out to a record-high mark — $11 billion. According to Russia’s statistics, in the first half of 2013, goods turnover ran at $5.5 billion. Last year, the leaders of the two countries set an ambitious goal: to reach out to the $20 billion mark by 2015. Hi-tech commmodities predominate trade turnover in the process. A considerable share of joint investments is put into projects in the fields of energy, civil aircraft construction, automobile and tractor manufacture, petrochemistry, telecommunications, pharmaceutics, and the production of fertilizers.

The construction of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KNPP) is one of important bilateral projects. The first two power units of the KNPP, bulit by Rosatom, are practically ready for operation. According to Singh, Moscow and New Delhi carty on talks and are soon are to reach out to signing contracts for building another two power units of the KNPP. The Indian Premier also reaffirmed interest in building yet another 14-16 power units with Russia’s assistance.

The RF presidential press service official enumerated ten more successful joint projects such as, for example, the development of the oil and gas deposit Sakhalin-1 (the share of the Indian ONGC state corporation is 20 percent). The co-development of a phosphate deposit on the Kola Peninsula in conjunction with the OAO Akron public joint-stock company and of potassium and magnesium salts in Perm Territory is a promising project.

According to an agreed time-table, Russian specialists are building new power faciltities in India (the Konaseema and Barh thermal and electric power plantd, the Tehr and Balimela hydropower plants, etc.). In a high degree of readiness are projects to put into operation an automobile plant at Hosur, and a bulldozer equipment assembly plant in Maharashtra. Construction is under way of an enterprise in Jamnagar to produce butyl-rubber, and of an underground railway in Channai.

Kremlin analysts point out, “Traditionally, the agenda of the summit includes items concerning technical military cooperation which remains one of priorities of Russia-India partnership”. A frigate (“Trikand”), built at Russian shipyards under an order placed by Indian partners, was turned over to the Indian sidein June 2013. The handover of the heavy air-capable cruiser Vikramaditya (“Admiral Gorshkov”) is scheduled for November 2013.

According to the data of the Indian side, the purchase of the Russian aircraft carrier will cost it $2.33 billion. Its service length is expected to be 30 years. Joint projects are being also successfully implemented to develop a fifth-generation fighter plane, a multi-purpose transport plane, and BrahMos cruise missiles.

Meetings between the Russian President and the Indian Premier are traditionally held every year alternately in each country. In 2014, Putin will be expected in India for a summit meeting.