Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India, has arrived in Russia on a state visit. Ilya Klebanov, federal Deputy Prime Minister; Mayor Vladimir Yakovlev; and top officers of the Leningrad naval base and the Leningrad Military District met him at the Pulkovo airport. Mr. Vajpayee is expected in Moscow tomorrow. As he said upon landing, there are close friendly ties between India and Russia: "I greeted [President] Vladimir Putin in India some time ago. We decided then to upgrade our contacts to strategic partnership." The Premier expects his current visit will make the bilateral ties even closer. He went from the airport to Hotel Astoria, where he is to put up for the visit to the city. The Indian Premier and Vladimir Yakovlev were to meet at the City Hall later on tonight. They are expected to discuss opportunities for non-ferrous metal, engineering and pharmaceutical joint ventures to be launched in India and St. Petersburg. Prospects for Indian expert training with the city's industrial companies, and for Petersburgers' contribution to Indian industrial updating will also be on the agenda.
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