Indian prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda also met yesterday with Boris Yeltsin and, following separate talks with Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, the two countries announced the signing of four intergovernmental agreements, including one on the elimination of double taxation and another dealing with cooperation in customs affairs. Gowda said that the two sides had also taken a final decision on the construction in India of two nuclear power plans with the participation of Russian specialists.
Prior to yesterday’s official meetings a Russian Defense Ministry source said that the visit by Gowda could open the door for New Delhi to receive the latest Russian military technologies. The source also said that Gowda was expected to raise with both Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin several unspecified problems linked to earlier Russian-Indian arms agreements, and to discuss possible new contracts for additional deliveries of Russian weaponry to India. In November of 1996 the Russian state arms company Rosvooruzhenie signed an agreement with the Indian Defense Ministry for the sale of 40 Russian Su-30MK fighters in a deal pegged at $1.8 billion. Various reports have estimated the total value of current military contracts between India and Russia — to be fulfilled by the year 2000 — at $7-10 billion. (Interfax, March 22; Itar-Tass, Interfax, March 25)
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