Russia and Ecuador are expanding their investment collaboration with about $1.5 billion worth of new projects, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday. After a meeting with Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Correa, President Putin said the two heads of state had discussed Russian business participation in large-scale industrial programmes in Ecuador, including railway infrastructure, according to a Ria Novosti news report. New collaboration opportunities are opening in hydrocarbon prospecting and extraction, while a special priority to be given to collaboration in high-tech sectors, Putin said in Moscow. Correa said Ecuador was interested in broad collaboration with Russian energy companies, in particular Rosneft and Inter RAO, which have already made significant investment in the South American country. Correa also said he hoped to host Putin in Ecuador sometime soon. Russian and Ecuador Tuesday signed a declaration on strategic partnership in politics, security, environmental protection, education, science, culture and tourism. Ecuador is keen to acquire air defence systems and training aircraft from Russia.