Ahead of his visit to New Delhi, President Vladimir Putin has disclosed that Russia will help India "directly" in the construction of atomic energy facilities, declaring, "We stand ready to support our Indian friends."
Cooperation in the construction of new reactors, supply of nuclear fuel and transfer of reprocessing technology are on the anvil during the Russian leader's visit starting a day prior to the Republic Day at which he will be the chief guest.
"We intend to help India directly in the construction of atomic energy facilities for peaceful use. On top of that some of our companies are very much interested in acquiring large contracts for construction of new facilities," he said during the 90-minute interview to PTI in the ornate 'Kaminiy' (fireplace) Hall at the historic Kremlin.
In a clear statement that Russia will pursue India's case in the Nuclear Suppliers Group for ensuring supplies of fuel, Putin said "on various occasions we provided India with nuclear fuel. And we will help India settle her problems in international affairs with the proviso that Russia will abide by international obligations."
The 55-year-old leader, however, politely refused to go into the details of the agreements expected to be finalised other nuclear issue and the on sale of multi-role transport aircraft and the fifth generation fighter jets to India.
"This is exactly what we are going to discuss there. Do you want me to tell the whole story? Then what should we do in the course of our negotiations," he said when asked whether more reactors are likely to be set up in the Russian-aided Kudankulam project in Tamil Nadu and whether agreements would cover supply of fuel and reprocessing technology.