Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev will make his second trip to India in two years this weekend in another sign of the increasingly close political and economicties between Moscow and New Delhi.

The Soviet-Indian relationship, dating back to a 1971 friendship treaty, has flourished especially since Gorbachev came to power in March 1985.The Kremlin leader called ties with India "wonderful" in remarks to a crowd in the Russian city of Oryol on Monday.

The Soviet Union and India "were countries very different in many respects, but very close in spirit and traditions," Tass reported him as saying. Gorbachev's first trip to an Asian country as Kremlin chief was to India in November 1986.