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President Vladimir Putin of Russia begins his two-day visit to India on Thursday. This will be his fourth visit — but this time he will be here as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade on Friday, a testimony to Russia’s re-invigorated status in India’s strategic calculation. Through the first half of the week, top Russian ministers — Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and chief of the atomic energy agency Sergei Kiriyenko will meet their Indian counterparts in the run-up to the “Manmohan-Putin Summit” on Thursday. India has proposed many joint ventures between the two countries to strengthen energy as well as defence ties, as it plans to double its annual import of crude oil to about 200 million tonnes a year, of which around 50 million is expected to come from Russia, industry chamber CII’s report on Indo-Russian relationship has said.

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