Russia is India's time tested and trusted friend: Indian EAM Sushma Swaraj

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MOSCOW: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj described Russia as India 's "tried and tested" partner and a "real friend". Swaraj and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov , during their meeting, talked about the Russian government's joint venture to manufacture almost 200 Kamov 226T helicopters in India that will give a big boost to government's flagship programme of "Make in India ". Swaraj also raised the issue of liberalisation of visa regime for Indian tourists and businessmen during the talks which lasted for over an hour, according to External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup. The talks took place in the backdrop of warming up of ties between Pakistan and Russia which signed a defence agreement this year. Ending its self-imposed embargo on arms sales to India 's archrival, Moscow has agreed to sell four MI-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan. The Kamov helicopter deal was one of topics of discussion between Swaraj and Lavrov which also covered key regional and bilateral issues including defence, civil nuclear cooperation and trade ties. In this occasion she said "I want to tell you that Russia is India 's tried and tested partner and a real friend. Our foreign policy towards Russia has always been the same. She also held talks with her Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov on key issues, including TAPI gas pipeline and Ashgabat Agreement on trade and transit

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