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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 March 2006, 11:37 GMT
India, Russia focus on Iran issue
By Jyotsna Singh
BBC News, Delhi

Iranian technicians
Iran's nuclear programme has come under intense scrutiny
India and Russia have held talks on the eve of a key meeting of the UN atomic watchdog over the Iran issue.

Indian Premier Manmohan Singh "lauded Russia's efforts to address the issue... through dialogue and consultations," a statement said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors meets on Monday.

The meeting is expected to clear the way for the UN Security Council to consider acting against Iran over fears it seeks nuclear weapons.

The IAEA board of governors will hear a report from the organisation's chief, Mohamed ElBaradei.

The talks on the phone between Prime Minister Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday were "initiated" by the Indian side.

The two leaders also discussed ongoing co-operation in the field of civilian nuclear energy.

The Bhabha atomic plant outside Mumbai, India
India is looking at nuclear power to meet its energy needs

Earlier this week, during a visit by US President George W Bush to Delhi, India and US reached a landmark deal in which India agreed to separate its military and civilian nuclear facilities.

The agreement should help India gain access to civilian nuclear technology and nuclear fuel from the US.

Under the deal, India would open the civilian facilities to international inspections.

The agreement, subject to an approval by US Congress, is expected to meet India's growing energy needs.

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