December 24, 2012 10:21:48 AM
NEW DELHI -- Russia and India signed weapons deals worth billions of dollars Monday as President Vladimir Putin sought to further boost ties with an old ally.
Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed cooperation between their countries as officials signed a $1.6 billion deal for 42 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets that will be license-built in India from Russian components and a $1.3 billion contract for the delivery of 71 Mil Mi-17 military helicopters.
"We agreed to further strengthen the traditions of close cooperation in the military and technical areas," Putin said after the signing.
Singh said the talks included discussions on the security situation in the region, including Afghanistan.
"India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism," Singh told reporters after the talks.
Russia and India have shared close ties since the Cold War, when Moscow was a key ally and the principal arms supplier to New Delhi.
The ties slackened after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but grew stronger again after Putin came to power in 2000, seeking to revive Moscow's global clout and restore ties with old allies.