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Siberian oil deals; India, Russia to set out energy vision

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New Delhi / Moscow (Dec. 09, 2014): India and Russia will strike an energy partnership when Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosts President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to prepare the way for two Siberian oil deals and chart a route for a first pipeline between the two countries.

But a joint 'vision' document is likely to lack hard details, with terms still being thrashed out for ONGC Videsh to acquire an interest in Rosneft's Vankor and Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye oilfields, officials and industry sources on both sides say.

There are doubts over the viability of proposed oil and gas pipeline routes that would either cross conflict-ridden Afghanistan and Pakistan - India's arch enemy - or mountainous tracts of inner China.

Russia, isolated by the West over its annexation of Crimea and backing of an armed uprising in eastern Ukraine, has a friendship with India that dates back to the Soviet era.

New Delhi explicitly rules out joining Western sanctions against Russia although Modi has struck up an increasingly warm friendship with President Barack Obama since winning power in May, and will host the U.S. leader in January.

Putin has been a regular visitor to India since becoming president in 2000 but the trip will be a one-day affair. A proposal for him to address parliament was quietly dropped.

Russo-Indian trade, at $10 billion, is only one-ninth of the volume between Russia and China.