MOSCOW: Russia and India are to co-operate on the development of fighter jets, the Russian defence ministry announced yesterday in advance of Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov’s visit to India tomorrow.br /An agreement over the joint development of so-called “fifth- generation” fighter jets should be signed within months, said spokesman Colonel-General Anatoli Masurkevitch.br /A joint Russian-Indian military exercise is also scheduled to take place in the north-western Russian city of Pskov, close to the Estonian border, Masurkevitch said.br /Ivanov during his two-day trip to India is set to visit the city of Bangalore as well as attend political talks in New Delhi, ministry spokesman Sergei Rybakov said.br /Russian President Vladimir Putin is also scheduled to travel to India where he will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26.br /India and China are the two biggest customers for Russian arms exports. The Indian Air Force utilises Russian-designed Su-30MK multi-role fighter bombers, manufactured under licence. In 2003 and 2005 Moscow and New Delhi collaborated on large-scale naval manoeuvres in the Indian Ocean.br /n The head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Atomic Energy, Sirgei V Kiriyenko, will visit the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu today to evaluate the progress of its construction and also discuss the prospects of future co-operation for a strategic partnership.br /Kiriyenko, who arrived yesterday, visited the plant in April last year.br /“Kiriyenko will also hold meetings with Indian Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar and discuss matters relating to supply of nuclear material,” said a Russian embassy official said in New Delhi.br /A joint Indo-Russian committee has been formed to work out proposals for completing the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.br /Russia has already agreed to ensure the commissioning of Units I and II withbr /a capacity of 1,000 MW each without compromising on quality and security.br /During his earlier visit, Kiriyenko wanted to see if Moscow could procure orders for four units of 1,000 MW each to be built at the Kudankulam plant.br /Russia has supplied uranium fuel to India for the Tarapur nuclear power plant in defiance of a ban by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and is also involved in the construction of the first two units of the Kudankulam plant.br /Like Tarapur, Kudankulam is under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and so Russia can supply fuel to this power plant as well.br /Russia has already signalled its intent to start nuclear supplies to India and is keen to maximise business as soon as the NSG ban on countries supplying nuclear material or equipment is lifted. – Agencies

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