Monday, December 7, 2009

Unit 5 Blog

India, Russia sign deals on nuclear energy, defence

MOSCOW (AFP) – India and Russia signed deals on nuclear energy and arms sales on Monday as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks in the Kremlin with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
"We welcome Russia's participation in the broadening of our nuclear energy programme," Singh told reporters after the talks, according to remarks translated into Russian.
"The successful end of the negotiations on the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy is a major step forward," he added.
"We are both of the opinion that our relations have very much potential," Medvedev said.
Both Russia and India are members of the so-called "BRIC" club of emerging economic giants, and New Delhi has been keen to win Moscow's help in building up its civilian nuclear energy programme and arming its military.
Russia, meanwhile, wants to bring India on board in its efforts to promote a "multipolar" world order not dominated by the United States.
A deal on Russian-Indian atomic energy cooperation was one of seven agreements signed after Monday's talks, the Kremlin said.
It did not release details of the nuclear deal, but Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said ahead of the talks that India and Russia had been trying to put together an agreement that would broaden a nuclear fuel import pact.
The pact would guarantee unhindered supply of uranium for Indian reactors and the right to reprocess spent fuel, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency quoted unnamed officials as saying.
Russia is already building two nuclear power units in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and has agreed to install four more nuclear reactors there as part of an agreement signed during Medvedev's visit to India last year.
Russia's state-owned nuclear power firm Rosatom could build up to 20 nuclear power units in India in all, including four to six in the state of West Bengal, the ITAR-TASS state news agency reported, citing the company's chief.
"These are not just billions, these are tens of billions of dollars" worth of contracts, Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko said, quoted by ITAR-TASS.
Russia and India also signed two agreements on arms, one on their bilateral arms trade in the years 2011-2020 and another on servicing Russian-made arms sold to India, the Kremlin said.
Details on the agreements were not released, but Russian news agencies said Moscow and New Delhi had settled a dispute over India's purchase of a retired Soviet aircraft carrier, citing a source close to the talks.
The 44,570-tonne warship, the "Admiral Gorshkov," has yet to be delivered amid delays and cost overruns in its refurbishment.
India's plans to acquire it have turned into a headache for New Delhi, with Moscow in 2007 demanding an additional 1.2 billion dollars to cover repairs of the 30-year-old ship.
"In matters relating to the contract, everything is settled, the parameters have been determined and a final decision has been made," a source close to Monday's talks told the Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies.
Singh also met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who called India a "true strategic partner," according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the Russian government's website.
"It is very pleasant to see that India, our true strategic partner and one of our most important partners in the region and globally, maintains such intense contacts with us in practically all areas," Putin said.

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