India, Russia to sign umbrella n-deal as Manmohan arrives in Moscow | india | Hindustan Times
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India, Russia to sign umbrella n-deal as Manmohan arrives in Moscow

india Updated: Dec 06, 2009 20:25 IST

India and Russia will sign on Monday an umbrella agreement for expanding civil nuclear cooperation that will give New Delhi the right to reprocess spent fuel, a deal that will take their pact "far beyond the 123 agreement" inked with the US, a top official said Sunday as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here on a three-day visit.

The visit, coming close on the heels of the Indian prime minister's visit to Washington last week and talks with President Barack Obama, is expected to take the "strategic partnership" between the two countries to another level in "an evolving international situation".

The inter-governmental umbrella agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy will provide a comprehensive framework for expanding the existing civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries. Last year, the two sides signed a pact for Russia building four additional reactors at Kudankulam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

The agreement will be an advance on the 123 civil nuclear cooperation agreement signed between India and the US last year by granting India the right to reprocess spent fuel and facilitating the transfer of the sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies, official sources said.

Recently, India announced the allocation of one more site at Haripur in West Bengal for nuclear reactors supplied by Russia.

Russia, one of the earliest supporters for India re-joining the global nuclear trade, had supported consensus for New Delhi in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

India and the US are in the final stages of concluding a reprocessing pact. The pact was expected to be signed during Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington last month, but could not materialise due to "minor problems" relating to the language of the draft agreement.

India and Russia have also arrived at a "satisfactory price" for the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and the revised deal on it will be signed soon, the official said.

He did not disclose what that "satisfactory price" was.

Indian and Russian defence officials have been negotiating the price for the purchase of the refurbished $2.2-billion aircraft carrier for over a decade.

Moscow is now asking on $2.9 billion for the aircraft carrier, nearly thrice the price that was originally agreed between the two sides in 2004. But New Delhi wanted the price to be scaled back to $2.1 billion.