India, Russia clinch civil nuclear accord

  • Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 05, 2008 23:43 IST

New Delhi and Moscow signed an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation on Friday on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s maiden visit. Russia is the third country to sign such an agreement with India after France and US.

“The signing of the agreement on civil nuclear cooperation with Russia marks a new milestone in the history of our cooperation with Russia in the field of nuclear energy. We have taken yet another step forward in the area of space cooperation and have agreed to initiate joint activities in our human space flight programme,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the two sides inked 10 agreements and MoU’s on trade, defence, space, commerce, tourism.

Anil Kakodkar, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy of India and Sergei Kirienko, Director-General, Russian State Corporation, Rosatom signed the nuclear cooperation agreement.

“Both sides note with satisfaction the ongoing cooperation in the implementation of the Kudankulam nuclear power project. The two sides agree to collaborate in setting up of additional units of the project on the basis of the agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Russian Federation on cooperation in the construction of additional nuclear power plant units at Kudankulam and new sites in India and to expand and pursue further areas for bilateral cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” a joint declaration signed by Singh and Medvedev stated.

The nuclear deal will see the building of four new nuclear energy

reactors in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

“We held detailed talks covering all areas of our relationship such as

hydrocarbons, trade and economy, defence, space, science and technology, culture and terrorism. Our strategic partnership with Russia is a vital anchor of our foreign policy. It is a relationship that has withstood the test of time. It is a relationship that is based on strong mutual trust, confidence and convergence of interests,” Singh said.

The two sides said they expected to achieve bilateral trade of $10 billion by 2010. They will also undertake joint manned space missions in the future

Medvedev praised the agreements as opening a “new page” in relations. Another deal was signed on the sale of 80 Mi-17 military helicopters to India.

Medvedev said that the defence relationship between India and Russia had both problems and prospects.

He said the sale of Russian T-90 tanks to India and the possible leasing or sale of Russian atomic-powered submarines had been discussed.

“We would like to offer sincere condolences to all families of victims of the Mumbai terrorist attack. We stand ready to work together in combating terrorism and provide all possible assistance,” Medvedev added.

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