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Putin Seeks to Double India Trade, Pushing Nuclear Plants

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has tabbed developing nuclear and arms businesses as key to a goal of doubling trade with India as he visits the South Asian nation.

Russia seeks to reach $20 billion in annual trade with India by 2015, compared with a projected $10 billion this year, Putin said in an interview with India’s The Hindu newspaper, coinciding with his official visit.

India, Russia’s leading arms customer, has increased defense spending over the past decade and Putin, who returned to the Kremlin this year, seeks to fend off growing competition from the U.S. and Europe for contracts. The two countries will consider developments in missiles, fighter jets and transport aircraft, according to the article, distributed by the Kremlin.

Russia also expects an agreement with India for the construction of more nuclear power plants “in the nearest future,” Putin said in the interview. The countries plan to start operations at the Kudankulam plant to reduce energy deficit in southern India, he added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Bierman in Moscow at sbierman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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