Putin targets arms deals, doubling in trade on India trip

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to tighten defence ties with India and double levels of bilateral trade within three years during his trip there today. 

Accompanied by several senior ministers and military officials, Mr Putin will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a one-day visit designed to highlight the strong ties between two traditional allies. 

Mr Putin wrote in an article for The Hindu, an Indian daily, ahead of his visit that deepening of friendship and cooperation with India is among the top priorities of Russia's foreign policy.

India is now the world's largest arms importer and Russian-made military equipment accounts for 70 percent of Indian arms supplies. 

But while Russia once had a virtual monopoly over India's arms market, New Delhi has been shopping around of late and the visit is seen in Moscow as a chance to regain lost ground and develop joint projects.