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Indian spectators watch as short-range Akash missiles are displayed during the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, January 26, 2007. - 


SCOTT JAGOW: It's Republic Day in India. This is when India marks the signing of its constitution. Helping India celebrate is an old friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia is pretty important to India, the world's second fastest growing economy. Miranda Kennedy explains why.

MIRANDA KENNEDY: India and Russia have been partners in arms and energy since the early days of the Cold War. And they're eager to keep it that way, even as India pursues closer ties with the U.S.

At a press conference in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggested that Russia will continue to be India's No. 1 arms supplier.

MANMOHAN SINGH: Our defense ties have steadily progressed, to include new areas.

Those new areas include jointly developing fighter aircraft. President Putin said, through a translator, that he will help fill India's fast-growing energy needs.

VLADIMIR PUTIN [translator]: We are ready to brave new horizons in our fuel, energy cooperation and we can already boast a number of examples that illustrate this.

India and Russia announced intentions to jointly explore for oil in Siberia. Russia also said it will build four nuclear power reactors in India. That puts Russia ahead of U.S. companies racing to win lucrative nuclear contracts here.

In New Delhi, I'm Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.