Russia to raise N-stakes in India
RUSSIA HAS agreed to build four additional power units at the Kudankulam nuclear power reactor in Tamil Nadu in an agreement that will enhance India’s energy security, and strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, chief guest at this year’s Republic Day celebrations, sealed the deal on Thursday.
After detailed discussions with Putin, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters: “Energy security is the most important of the emerging dimensions of our strategic partnership.”
The leaders presided over a brief ceremony at Hyderabad House after their talks, at which they signed a joint statement on the outcome of the Russian president's visit and another on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy.
While Singh and Putin watched, senior officials of the two countries signed another eight agreements in sectors ranging from culture to space co-operation and nuclear power, to banking and movement of goods.“Russia remains indispensable to the core of India’s foreign policy interests,” Singh said. The affirmation that this bilateral relationship was fundamental to India’s “vital national interests” was aimed at critics who have accused the government of aligning too closely with the West, particularly the United States.
The joint statement, issued unusually early — while Putin’s two-day visit is still on — detailed the multi-faceted nature of the Indo-Russian engagement, devoting five of its 28 paragraphs to improving the economic content of the relationship.“Without political support, it is not possible to build economic relations,” Putin said, referring particularly to nuclear energy.
“Given the high level of mutual trust, we believe common sense will dominate in the coming years,” he added, responding to a question on how political proximity would help expand commercial relations. The two countries will continue to co-operate in civil nuclear, and conventional energy as well, from exploration to construction of pipelines for delivery.
In the morning, Singh broke protocol and received the Russian president at the airport. Singh had extended this special courtesy earlier to only Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, US President George W. Bush and Nepal Prime Minister G.P. Koirala.