22 Dec 2010

Russia, India sign major defence, energy deals

4:15 pm on 22 December 2010

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has signed nuclear and defence agreements worth billions of dollars during a two-day visit to India.

The setpiece, the BBC reports, is a long-awaited deal on the joint production of a fifth-generation stealth fighter jet. India reportedly plans to take as many as 300 of the aircraft.

On the nuclear front, Mr Medvedev agreed to provide another two civilian nuclear energy reactors in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where Russia is already setting up two reactors.

Other agreements signed by Mr Medvedev and Indian prime Minister Manmohan Singh relate to such areas as energy, technology and chemicals.

A sign of India's growing clout

All five permanent United Nations Security Council member nations have made trade-focused visits to India in recent months.

The BBC's correspondent in Delhi says the visits are a sign of India's growing clout on the world stage. As recession bites elsewhere, he points out, India is booming.

In a joint statement, Russia voiced its support for India "as a deserving and strong candidate" for a permanent seat on an expanded Security Council.

US President Barack Obama voiced similar during his visit in November.