India and Russia sign energy, defense deals worth billions

Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:20am EDT
 
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By Douglas Busvine and Denis Pinchuk

GOA, India (Reuters) - India and Russia signed billions of dollars of defense and energy deals on Saturday at a summit that sought to inject new life into a relationship that has been tested by shifting global alliances and conflict in the Middle East.

Under the biggest agreement, a group led by Russian state oil major Rosneft (ROSN.MM: Quote) said it would pay $12.9 billion for a controlling stake in both India's Essar Oil and port facilities that it owns.

The countries, which had strong ties during the Cold War, announced plans for a joint venture to build helicopters in India. New Delhi said it would also buy surface-to-air missile systems and stealth frigates from Moscow.

"Ours is a truly unique and privileged relationship," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the western seaside state of Goa.

Modi said that his views were aligned with Putin's on the unstable situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East, where Moscow is at odds with the West in the five-year-old civil war in Syria that has killed hundreds of thousands.

"We are conducting a comprehensive dialog on a wide scale of international issues, in which Indian and Russian approaches are close to each other or coincide," said Putin.

Modi also praised Putin's support for the fight against international terrorism, which India accuses its neighbor and rival Pakistan of sponsoring. "Russia's clear stand on the need to combat terrorism mirrors our own," Modi said.

  Continued...

 
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during exchange of agreements event after India-Russia Annual Summit in Benaulim, in the western state of Goa, India, October 15, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui