Putin, Modi
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on 11 December, 2014.Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday assured President Vladimir Putin that Russia will remain India's most important defence partner, even though New Delhi's options had expanded since the end of the Cold War.

Re-energising their bilateral relations, both countries signed billions of dollars in deals covering oil, nuclear power and defence cooperation.

3.50 PM: The Russian President praises the cultural ties between the two nations.

3.40 PM: Putin while addressing a joint press conference with Modi says that bilateral trade between the two countries needs to grow much more.

3.30 PM: Russia is one of India's most important defence partners, says Narendra Modi.

3 PM: India agrees to second Russian-made nuclear power site in addition to Kudankulam.

1 PM: Russia's state-owned Rosatom says it will supply 12 nuclear energy reactors for India over 20 years, under an agreement aimed at boosting nuclear energy cooperation.

Indian officials say that a total of six reactors will be built at Kudankulam, with a further six to follow at a site that has not yet been determined, reports Reuters.

12 PM: Putin meets Modi; the two pose for the photographers before beginning talks on various deals that are set to be signed between the two countries. India and Russia are expected to sign 20 agreements in various sectors, ranging from civil nuclear energy to defence.

11.50 PM: Modi welcomes Putin at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

The question on everyone's mind: will Putin agree to invest in the Make in India campaign?

11 AM: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russia President Vladimir Putin to discuss speeding up of the Kudankulam reactors. Putin will be invited to take part in a helicopters project on Thursday. A major initiative in the defence sector, the $3 billion light-utility chopper project is lauded as the first major 'Make In India' enterprise, reports Hindustan Times, which claims that the helicopters are meant for both export as well as defence.

10.45 AM: External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin hails the Indo-Russia ties, says that the two countries share a friendly relationship, which has stood the test of time.

Syed Akbaruddin ✔ @MEAIndia

Beginning with smiles. Prime Minister @narendramodi & Prez @KremlinRussia_E begin Annual Summit talks in New Delhi pic.twitter.com/27pa9aHVXo

9.15 AM: Putin expected to be in Rashtrapati Bhavan soon.

After being received by the President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Putin is expected to meet with Modi, sign agreements later this afternoon and interact with CEOs of Indian firms. He'll be at the Vigyan Bhavan for the joint inauguration of the World Diamond Conference with the Indian PM and will meet with the President before returning tonight.

Earlier on Wednesday, as Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in India for his much-anticipated visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wasted no time in getting in on the act.

"Delighted to welcome President Putin to India. Looking forward to a productive visit that will take India, Russia ties to newer heights." Modi tweeted in Russian.

"Times have changed, our friendship has not. Now we want to take this relation to the next level and this visit is a step in that direction," The Indian PM added, reports NDTV.

At a time when Russia is at loggerheads with the West, Putin has embarked upon his first summit with Modi. The Russian economy is in the doldrums as oil prices slid to its lowest point in five years. Modi and Putin had met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil in July and during the G-20 summit in Australia last month.

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