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India Russia’s ‘privileged strategic partner’: Putin

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, Oct 13 : President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russia remained the top supplier of advanced weapons and defence technology to its “privileged strategic partner” India and added that Moscow and other BRICS nations were determined to back New Delhi’s fight against terror.

“Russia remains in the lead in terms of both direct supplies of most advanced weapons and military equipment and conducting joint researches with India as well as producing goods for military purposes. Our countries actively collaborate in the military technical field,” Putin said in an exclusive interview to IANS and Sputnik news agencies.

He underlined India-Russia partnership in the development of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and building of a new fifth-generation fighter aircraft as “the successful joint projects” of the two countries.

The President, who will be in Goa for the five-nation BRICS Summit this weekend, said many of the Russian projects in India not only have commercial importance but also play a significant social and economic role for the economies of the two partners.

Such projects, he said, “harmoniously fit in the new Indian industrialisation programme”, a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.

“Russian companies see real prospects and high attractiveness of the Indian market,” Putin said in response to questions jointly emailed by IANS and Russian Sputnik wire service.

Describing India as “Russia’s especially privileged strategic partner,” Putin said the cooperation between the two countries was “making good headway in all areas on the basis of strong traditions of friendship, trust and mutual respect”.

Putin responded to a range of issues, including India-Russia economic ties, terrorism and Afghanistan.

On the economic front, he said India still remained “Russia’s major foreign trade partner” despite trade between the two countries dropping by 7.8 per cent last year.

“We are resolved to overcome the negative trend, which, in our opinion, is largely associated with volatility on the global markets and in exchange rates,” he said.

The comments come amid a notion that India had made a strategic shift in its military diplomatic ties after a rapid rise in arms trade with the US and other Western nations.

Russia has been traditionally the largest arms supplier to India. But the ties have witnessed some strain, particularly over the cost overrun of some Russian projects, including the delivery of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.

India has also made its concerns known over Russia’s decision to supply Pakistan with the Mi-35 attack helicopters and engines for the JF-17 — a lightweight single-engine multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by China and Pakistan.

Russia recently also conducted a joint military drill with Pakistan, sparking strong opposition from India at a time New Delhi was seeking to isolate Islamabad on charges of sponsoring terrorism.

But Putin shared his views unambiguously on terrorism, saying the BRICS bloc was “determined” to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

“For our five countries’ leaders this meeting (in Goa) will be a good opportunity to harmonise our positions on key issues on the international agenda. We are determined to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption,” Putin said.

Putin said BRICS, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, would “also contribute to settling conflicts and ensuring international information security”.

The two-day summit in Goa begins on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Putin on the sidelines.

Modi is likely to raise the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism with the Russian president.

On Afghanistan, Putin said India and Russia were both interested in deepening “constructive multilateral cooperation” to help rebuild the war-torn country where decisive action was needed to defeat terrorism.

“Russia and India share the need to support national reconciliation efforts under international law and are interested in deepening constructive multilateral cooperation for the purposes of assisting Afghanistan in solving the issues of national security, building counter-narcotics capacity, ensuring social and economic development, and enhancing interconnectivity.”

Questions to Putin were emailed before India’s September 29 surgical strikes targeting terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Lifestyle

Shoes that every girl must have

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Essential Shoes for Every Girl

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) When it comes to shoes, there are endless designs, styles, and possibilities. But these five types of shoes should be owned by every fashionable girl, say experts.

Alisha Malik, Vice President Marketing and creative face of Mochi Shoes and Accessories, and Nehpreet Kaur, Design and Creative Head, Femina Flaunt, have shared a list of must-have shoes:

* Nude pumps are the ultimate go-to shoes. Up your game with pumps, the ultimate choice when you can’t think of what will go with your outfit. Formal meetings or parties, you can never go wrong with heels. Not only do they add a touch of class to your outfit but they also take away the monotony of monochrome in your look.

* Nothing feels as comfortable as a pair of sneakers. Most of the time, it will match with anything you wear. For those days when you just want to relax, ensure that you have a pair of sneakers in your shoe collection.

* Loafers have taken street style by storm and are frequently spotted on models and actresses while they’re out and about. This menswear-inspired shoe has replaced the ballet flat as the quintessential run-around shoe. They are fuss-free and extremely comfortable for the feet.

* Boots are essential to any woman’s wardrobe. There is no debate about them, they complement every outfit. You can choose a pair of boots with a slight heel to dress up a look, or go with flat boots for a more comfortable, yet cute look.

* There are wedges for almost any occasion, from bridal to party to casual. They are the most versatile pair of heels for long duration events.

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World

Protests over Putin’s plans to hike retirement age

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Russia protest over pension age

Moscow, Sep 22 (IANS) Members and supporters of Russia’s Communist Party took to the streets of the capital on Saturday to protest unpopular pension reforms planned by President Vladimir Putin.

Putin took measures to soften his proposed hike in retirement age in August by limiting the increase for women to 60 — up from 55 — instead of the initial suggestion of 63, Efe news reported.

But the change of plan has so far failed to quell protests against it. He stood by plans to raise men’s retirement age from 60 to 65.

Protesters held signs emblazoned with slogans such as “Putin Lies”. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov also spoke at the rally.

The changes have been given a preliminary green-light by the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament, but have provoked widespread outrage. An opinion poll showed that about 90 per cent of Russians were against increasing the retirement age.

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World

Ready to boost anti-terror cooperation with Iran: Putin

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, Sep 23 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, over a deadly terrorist attack and reaffirmed readiness to intensify counter-terror cooperation, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

“We are outraged by this bloody crime. Hopefully, everyone involved will be held liable,” Putin said in his telegram to Rouhani, which was published by the Kremlin, Xinhua news agency.

At least 24 people were killed in a terror attack in a military parade in the southern Iranian Ahvaz city on Saturday, official IRNA news agency reported.

This incident is another proof of the need for “uncompromising war on any manifestations of terrorism,” Putin said.

“I would like to confirm our readiness to further enhance cooperation with our Iranian partners in the fight against this evil,” he said.

The President offered condolences to the relatives and friends of those killed in the attack and wished a speedy recovery to those injured, according to the Kremlin.

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