Medvedev to push for military, nuclear deals in India

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

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December 21, 2010. NEW DELHI – RUSSIAN (KATAKAMI / The Straits Times) — President Dmitry Medvedev arrives in India on Tuesday, the latest in a line of visiting global leaders seeking military and trade deals with the world’s second-fastest growing major economy.

Traditionally India’s default defence supplier, Russia now faces stiff competition from Europe and the United States as India diversifies its sources of military hardware and becomes more demanding over pricing and quality.

‘The Russians are uncomfortable with the changing scenario and Medvedev needs to convince India why Moscow should remain our regular defence provider,’ said retired Indian Army general and military scholar Afsir Karim.

Mr Medvedev’s lobbying trip comes hard on the heels of similar visits by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, as well as US President Barack Obama.

All three announced deals and framework agreements worth billions of dollars, and the Russian president will also be looking to seal key accords on the supply of military fighter jets and the construction of nuclear power stations.

In an interview published in the Times of India on Monday, Mr Medvedev said he viewed the growing competition for India’s booming defence market with ‘serenity and pragmatism’. ‘We are ready to compete, the main point being that the fight for contracts is fair,’ he said. — AFP

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