India and Russia today inked 30 agreements in areas ranging from science, peaceful use of nuclear energy to culture and pharmaceuticals and also inked a contract for jointly building a fifth generation fighter jet. The two countries also asked Pakistan to bring the 26/11 perpetrators to justice.
Eleven agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who reiterated his country's support for India's bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. The other agreements were signed on the margins of the third summit between the two leaders.
A memorandum of understanding between India's department of atomic energy and Russia's state atomic energy corporation Rosatom for broader scientific and technical cooperation and a pact on cooperation in oil and gas sector were among the pacts signed to signal the growing energy partnership between the two sides.
Ending speculation, the two sides signed a preliminary design contract (PDC) for building a fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).
The contract envisages joint design and development of the aircraft with the involvement of HAL on the Indian side and Sukhoi Design Bureau and Rosoboronexport on the Russian side.
Medvedev arrived in India on a two-day visit early Tuesday morning that also marked the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Medvedev held delegation-level talks for nearly two hours and discussed a host of issues, including the expansion of civil nuclear cooperation, the intensification of bilateral economic ties, global terrorism and the international financial crisis.
"Russia wants to India to have a permanent seat in the UN Security Council if the decision to expand the organ is taken," Medvedev said at a joint press interaction with Manmohan Singh after the talks.
Vowing to double their bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2015, the two sides discussed setting setting up "additional nuclear reactors" in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.
"This reflects our mutual desire for strong cooperation in the field of defence and (civil) nuclear energy," Manmohan Singh said.
Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of the state-owned nuclear company Rosatom, is building two 1,000 MW reactors in Kudankulam in collaboration with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), and is in negotiations to build two more reactors of 1000 MW each.
The first of the original reactors is undergoing final safety tests and is likely to start operations early next year after numerous delays to the original schedule. Construction work is mostly complete for the second reactor as well, which is likely to become critical within two years.
Expanding counter-terror cooperation figured prominently in the talks.
"The two sides agreed that all terrorist networks must be defeated. They called upon Pakistan to expeditiously to bring all the perpetrators, authors and accomplices of the Nov 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice," said a joint statement entitled "Celebrating a decade of India-Russian Federation Strategic Partnership and Looking Ahead."
At the joint press interaction with Manmohan Singh, Medvedev said "no civilised state can hide terrorists," but did not mention Pakistan by name.
"Terrorists are criminals. They, of course, should be punished. Those who hide terrorists conceal their crimes. No modern civilised state can hide terrorists as law abiding citizens. They are subject to punishment," Medvedev said. He was replying to a question by IANS on safe havens of terror across the Indian border and how India and Russia were cooperating to tackle the menace.
"Our cooperation is productive and open. We are interested in strengthening that cooperation," Medvedev added.
"India and Russia are both victims of terrorists, as such there is a natural synergy of interests in working together to deal with this menace," said Manmohan Singh.
"We should cooperate in information sharing and intelligence sharing and devise effective counter-terrorism strategies," the prime minister said.