India, Russia ink new nuclear-deal; Moscow most important defence partner, says PM Narendra Modi

Modi said Putin is a great leader and he has been a pillar of strength for India's security and international relations.

By: Reuters Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: December 12, 2014 9:27 am
Vladimir Putin Narendra Modi, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shake hands as they pose for photos before a meeting in New Delhi. (Source: AP photo)

Unitedly opposing economic sanctions that do not have the UNSC’s approval, India and Russia on Thursday sought to strengthen their “special strategic partnership” by announcing a clutch of agreements in energy and defence, including Moscow’s help in building at least 12 nuclear reactors and a plan to manufacture advanced Russian military helicopters and defence spare parts in India.

Unveiling a “Druzhba-Dosti” vision statement for the next decade after a four-hour long meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for “at least 10 more (nuclear) reactors” with the highest standards of safety. “It will include manufacture of equipment and components in India. This also supports our Make in India policy,” he said.

embed1A strategic vision document on nuclear power signed on Thursday said both sides would strive to complete the construction and commissioning of “not less than 12 units” in the next two decades, in accordance with the 2008 agreement. Towards this objective, the Indian side agreed to expeditiously identify a second site, in addition to Kudankulam, for the construction of the Russian-designed nuclear power units in India.

“We have just signed a document of great significance — the strategic vision for strengthening Indian-Russian cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power. It contains plans to build over 20 nuclear power units in India, as well as cooperation in building Russia-designed nuclear power stations in third countries, in the joint extraction of natural uranium, production of nuclear fuel and waste elimination. This will lay the foundation for our long-term mutually beneficial cooperation in the nuclear sector,” said Putin.

Russian government officials said Moscow has “in principle” agreed to the Indian nuclear liability law, factoring in the costs involved in the process. This led to the signing of the supplement to the General Framework Agreement (GFA) for Units 3 and 4 of Kudankulam nuclear power project between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Atomstroyexport on Thursday.

The issue of nuclear liability has been dogging the sector, as the American and French firms have not been able to overcome the issue. This has prevented the US and French nuclear firms from starting work on setting up the nuclear power projects in the last five years.
Stressing that Russia would remain India’s most important defence partner “even if India’s options have increased”, Modi said, “We discussed how to align our defence relations to India’s own priorities, including Make in India… Russia has offered to fully manufacture in India one of its most advanced helicopters. It includes the possibility of exports from India. It can be used for both military and civilian use. We will follow up on this quickly.”

He also proposed that Russia should locate in India manufacturing facilities for spares and components for its defence equipment. “He responded very positively to my request,” said Modi.

“During our meeting, we paid special attention to trade and economic issues. By the end of 2013, our trade turnover reached $10 billion, but we believe — and it is obvious — that this is absolutely insufficient. We had a detailed discussion on the practical measures required to diversify our mutual trade and further enhance investment; we agreed to stimulate companies in both countries to activate joint work and to speed up the transition to the use of national currencies in mutual settlements,” said Putin.

He said they also agreed to be “more active” in supporting joint high-tech industrial and research projects. “We will assist in creating an Indian mobile operator. We are interested in the Indian initiative to build a Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor… A bulldozer equipment assembly line will soon reach design capacity. In 2016, with the assistance of Russian company Sibur Holding, we will complete the construction of one of the world’s largest butyl rubber producing plants in Mr Modi’s home state of Gujarat,” said Putin.

In their joint statement, the leaders agreed to step up efforts to enhance bilateral trade, setting a turnover target of US$ 30 billion by 2025. It is expected that mutual investments by then will be over US$15 billion.

In this context, the two sides decided to work towards enhanced cooperation in “oil and gas sphere”, and said they would study the possibilities of building a hydrocarbon pipeline system connecting Russia with India. “It is expected that Indian companies will strongly participate in projects related to new oil and gas fields in the territory of the Russian federation,” said the statement.

Stressing that Russia is the world’s top source for hydrocarbon resources and India one of the world’s largest importers, Modi said, “Yet, despite our close friendship, our collaboration in this sector has been disappointing. Today, we have made a new start with a few important agreements. But, we will set an ambitious agenda for partnership in oil and natural gas.”

They also agreed to examine avenues for participation in petrochemical projects — in India and Russia as well as in “third countries”.
Putin said new prospects would open up for Russian-Indian cooperation with the launch of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on January 1 next year. “Mr Prime Minister has just mentioned the possibility of establishing special relations between India and the EEU. We agreed to continue consultations on a free trade zone agreement,” he said.

On terrorism, the leaders condoled the loss of lives and agreed to work together for the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the 70th anniversary summit of the UN. “The leaders expressed hope that all safe havens and sanctuaries for terrorists will be wiped out without delay and terrorism will be completely eradicated from the common region within a decade,” the statement said.

“India and Russia oppose economic sanctions that do not have the approval of the United Nations Security Council,” it said. Pushing for the UN’s central role in international relations, they said they would work together to promote a “polycentric” and “democratic” world order based on shared interests of all countries.

The two countries signed 20 agreements — eight between government entities and 12 between private enterprises — in the fields of nuclear energy, oil and gas, health, investment, mining, media and wind power.

Putin also met President Pranab Mukherjee, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul, and attended a conference on rough diamonds in Delhi.


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First Published on: December 12, 2014 12:06 am
  1. A
    Aazar Kund
    Dec 12, 2014 at 11:39 am
    Nuclear deals may be lucrative apparently but it has potential threats too. It can be disastrous in terms of nuclear accidents as we have seen in ushima. Uranium mining, which creates serious health and environmental problems, has disproportionately impacted indigenous people because much of the world’s uranium is located under indigenous land. Uranium miners experience higher rates of lung cancer, tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases. The production of 1,000 tons of uranium fuel generates approximately 100,000 tons of radioactive tailings and nearly one million gallons of liquid waste containing heavy metals and nic in addition to radioactivity
    1. A
      Dec 28, 2014 at 10:58 pm
      Govt of India must visit following site to save billions www.bigproblemssmallsolutions....
      1. A
        Dec 12, 2014 at 3:29 am
        so India sent an Orbiter to Mars (Mangalayan)..and that for only $74 million.. while all the others that tried spent billions and still had failed.. but India is ok with giving $3 billion for construction of nuclear power plants..with all the engineers and other top level scientists at India's disposal..why not build them in India, by Indians and it will be at a much more cost effective way..the first may be really expensive..the second a little less, and so on and so forth...
        1. T
          Dec 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm
          India is way ahead in Thorium reactors and research,not only to China, but even to an and the U.S..
          1. S
            Sajal Liza
            Dec 12, 2014 at 8:23 am
            Quite strange that Russia at oncebecomes a most important defence partner of India. However, before Putinarrival to India, it was declared in headlines that Moscow doesn’t remain onIndian foreign policy priority. After shaking hands on defence deals, Russiaand India becomes the best friends. This is what called the real politick ininternational system which revolves around national interests only.
            1. C
              chander NRI
              Dec 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm
              This is the time India must stand With Russia, Russia has been a good and loyel friend og Indiadia can gain from this relation this time time too as it was in Soviet time.
              1. R
                Rose-Marie Mukarutabana
                Dec 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm
                True leaders, this pair, and real patriots. Let the nasties gnash their teeth.
                1. A
                  Dec 12, 2014 at 3:08 am
                  BTW ....... nuclear power has their own head aches ....... better go for Alternative Energy sources like Solar, Wind or Bio Fules. India has ABUNDANCE in all ..........................
                  1. A
                    Dec 12, 2014 at 12:11 am
                    Well ...................... did MODI take permission from NATO?
                    1. G
                      Ganesh Dore
                      Dec 12, 2014 at 5:18 am
                      How do other nations deal with Nuclear liability law ?
                      1. M
                        Dec 25, 2014 at 11:48 am
                        Have you been in Kerala and do you know about the advantages of thorium based nuclear power stations ?India should try to join the Chinese R&D efforts. I guess Indian IIT engineers couldcontribute more than others to help to start a new Kondratiev long economic cycle.Mote sands covering the beaches of Kerala contain not only rare earth metals , e.g. neodymium , but also enough of thorium –232 to generate electric energy for centuries until one day nuclear fusion plants may solve the power-generation problems for á mankind which threatens to double in only one generation again.I apologize for my poor English I learned in Bombay and Madras when India`s Potion just had reached approximately the number of 600 000 000 individuals .
                        1. P
                          periyar Koothi
                          Dec 12, 2014 at 2:30 am
                          great work ModiTamilnadu rogue Dravidian partie slike Vaiko/Seeman/DMK/Communist Pandian will always attack BJP no matter whatModi should enact a law to book these anti-nationals
                          1. J
                            Dec 12, 2014 at 12:27 am
                            Why is Putin or anyone meeting Sonia or Rahul?
                            1. R
                              Dec 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm
                              Good question. Start from pre-slavery time? Why 30 crore Indians became slaves to 3 whites who came to India to buy Tea powder? Why India struggled 100's of years to free itself? Then in free India, why Jet engine development efforts failed even after over 25 years? Why India is not able to develop a cryogenic jet engine to lift heavier satellite and place it in geosynchronous orbit? Why Indians are not able to put a man in space and not able to develop man landing vehicle yet? Why indian are not able to destroy a satellite with a missile? Several of the above have been accomplished by Chinese, though they were behind India during India's independence (1947). Because most of the Indians never think hard or work hard? They can memorise (education system is a proof of this), copy and paste and work as slaves, but can not think originally and creatively.
                              1. S
                                Dec 12, 2014 at 2:52 am
                                Not even any diamond related agreement that was being PR'ed earlier?Defence and energy are regular routine expected agreements with Russia. We are buying 36Bn of nuclear reactors in many decades. Even if we take 10yrs, that's 3.6Bn a year only.AND, a hard question. What are we selling to Russia?
                                1. S
                                  Dec 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm
                                  Was it important to put another page for just one word? IE???
                                  1. S
                                    Swatantra kumar
                                    Dec 12, 2014 at 8:44 am
                                    Dear Government, Energy issue is really a key problem in India and undoubtedly required special attention to solve this crisis. In the present scenario, most of the countries are looking for renewable resources and there is worldwide conception of problem with nuclear energy. Being in science field I am aware of fact that its quite safer but due to unfortunate natural disasters like sunami and earthquakes (Serious nuclear power plant accidents include the ushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (2011), Chernobyl disaster (1986)), these systems could be disaster for decades not to humans only but to nature itself. So please ensure about the safest locations of these future nuclear power stations and the most important thing the disposal of nuclear waste. Beside that, we should concentrate on building up of our resources for solar energy, wind energy, wave energy, Microbial fuel cells etc. I acknowledge PM Modi ji for the active interests in solar energy but other sectors could also to be developed together for a safe India. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!
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