Yeltsin makes deal with India

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NEW DELHI (AFP) - The Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, eager to forge a new relationship with India, slashed the huge Indian debt to the former Soviet Union by one-third yesterday and agreed to resume delivery of military spare parts.

The Indian Prime Minister, P V Narasimha Rao, said Mr Yeltsin's first visit here had ushered in a 'new era in Indo-Russian relations'. An Indian spokesman said the accord effectively reduced the amount India owes to Russia to dollars 8.4bn ( pounds 5.5bn) and extends the repayment period. The leaders signed a 20-year pact to replace the 1971 treaty of friendship and co-operation between India and the Soviet Union.