Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has arrived in India for a two-day working visit and is expected to sign a number of military and nuclear agreements.
The Russian president is expected to strike a deal with Russia's former Cold War-ally on jointly developing a new generation of fighter jets over 10 years. According to reports, the contract is worth around 35 billion dollars.
Medvedev's India tour follows visits by US President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. All five permanent members of the UN Security Council have visited India in the past six months.
New Delhi and Moscow are also to sign a deal that will allow Russia to build two more nuclear power plants in southern India.
As Russia faces tough competition from the US and Europe, the Russian president is carrying with him an $11-billion-tender for 126 warplanes and as much as $100 billion in nuclear-power contracts that remain up for grabs, Bloomberg reported Monday.
“Russia has always been a major player in India, but now it faces increasing competition in areas it traditionally dominated such as the arms trade, as India tries to diversify its suppliers further to get the best price and quality,” said Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy head of the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow last Friday.
Medvedev is to join Indian leaders on Tuesday to sign a raft of bilateral cooperation deals and also meet with Russian and Indian journalists and businessmen.
Russia is also seeking to participate in building the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
Hours before his arrival, Indian and Russian officials signed a protocol in New Delhi on Monday, agreeing to boost bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2015 and strengthening "strategic partnership."
The signing took place at the end of the fourth India-Russia Forum on Trade and Investment.
It is Medvedev's second official visit to India. The first one was in December 2008.