India's PM heads to China and Russia

India's Prime Minister says he aims to strengthen relationships with two countries while addressing "issues of concern".

    Singh, who left Sunday, looks to secure energy, arms, and other economic deals [AFP]
    Singh, who left Sunday, looks to secure energy, arms, and other economic deals [AFP]

    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has left for trip to Russia and China aimed at strengthening trade ties and to address "issues of concern". 

    The Indian prime minister, who left on Sunday, looks to secure energy, defence and other economic deals with both countries while also addressing a border dispute with China.  

    Singh will be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday to discuss arms purchases. 

    India, which has been spending billions of dollars upgrading its military, has been Russia's top weapons buyers for years. 

    Both countries will also be looking to seal accords on the next phase of a Russian-built nuclear power project on India's south coast to aid India's surging demand for electricity, but has been dogged by delays and protests over safety. 

    On Tuesday, India's prime minister will head to China looking to forge closer economic ties and develop a pact to ease tension along the disputed border in the Himalayan region after a flare-up in April. 

    The continuing border row has soured relations for decades, but the leaders of the two Asian giants pledged earlier this year to build trust. 

    "India and China have historical issues and there are areas of concern," he said, adding they would not affect "the overall atmosphere of friendship and cooperation".

    Singh will meet his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang will also seek progress on closing the trade gap, including through increased Chinese investment through Chinese industrial parks in India. 

    "The list of areas of our bilateral cooperation is impressive ... we hope to take forward our engagement in many of these areas during my visit," the Indian prime minister said.

    SOURCE: AFP


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