08/05/2015 9:15 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

President Pranab Mukherjee's Visit To Russia To Help IITs Tie Up With Top Colleges

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee meet in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Facing a stumbling economy at home and increasingly biting Western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought Thursday to strengthen once-close relationship with India through an ambitious plan to help New Delhi build at least 12 new nuclear reactors. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

MOSCOW -- Cooperation in civil nuclear energy, defence and higher education will be among the top issues that will be discussed by President Pranab Mukherjee when he meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his five-day visit here beginning today.

Eight MoUs will also be signed for cooperation between top higher educational institutes of Russia and India that include IITs of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

Mukherjee is here to attend the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of Russia's win in the World War II.

During the visit of Putin to India in December 2014, both the countries had decided to set up joint working groups for civil nuclear cooperation and the issue is expected to figure during the bilateral talks.

Defence cooperation is another key issue that will figure during the talks between Mukherjee and Putin.

"We often call India-Russia relations as time-tested and trusted. The relation is very deep. Average Indians have high regard for Russia. We have the strongest strategic relations with Russia and our defence cooperation is very solid," Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said earlier in New Delhi.

"We have a very robust system to resolve all bilateral matters. All topical bilateral issues will come up during the bilateral meeting between our President and President Putin. But I am hesitating to predict," he said.

A 75-member Indian Army contingent from the Grenadiers will take part in a military parade in Moscow during the Victory Day celebrations on Saturday.

Mukherjee is accompanied by Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and heads of several top Indian educational institutions, including vice-chancellor of Delhi University, Directors of IITs Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

The Foreign Secretary had said that the Department of Science and Technology will also sign an agreement with the Russian Science Foundation.

During Putin's state visit to India in December 2014, the two countries agreed on a vision to strengthen their partnership over the next decade.

Jaishankar described India's relations with Russia as "special and privileged" and said New Delhi was currently undertaking bilateral engagements to translate that vision with Moscow.

Mukherjee, who is visiting Russia at the invitation of Putin, will inaugurate the "Namaste Russia" cultural festival and will also be conferred an honorary doctorate by the Russian Diplomatic Academy.

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