With Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday for the 17th India-Russia Annual Summit, both sides are getting ready to sign the inter-governmental agreement for the “third phase” of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
Sources said that the two sides are likely to sign the agreement for the 5th and 6th units of the Kudankulam power plant on October 15, on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Goa. While the first and second units have been operationalised this year, some work has begun for the third and fourth units.
Along with the “General Framework Agreement”, officials from the two sides are also negotiating a “Credit Protocol”, sources said while talking about the Kudankulam plant’s units 5 and 6. Once signed, these will be the first such agreements with Russia after the nuclear liability clause was invoked on Russian nuclear reactors.
The 5th and 6th nuclear reactors are now expected to be much more expensive than the first and second units of the Kudankulam plant.
Sources said that India is also expected to raise its concerns over Moscow’s military cooperation with Pakistan. While PM Modi is expected to remind Putin of Russia’s commitment on not arming the Pakistan army, officials said that New Delhi has already conveyed its opposition to Russia over its joint exercise with Pakistan.
Indian envoy to Russia, Pankaj Saran, was quoted by Russian news agency Ria Novosti Tuesday, “We have conveyed our views to the Russian side that military cooperation with Pakistan, which is a state that sponsors and practises terrorism as a matter of state policy, is a wrong approach and it will only create further problems.”
Putin will be in India from October 14 to 17, and he will have bilaterals with other leaders who are attending the BRICS and BIMSTEC summits.
While a joint statement will be released at the end of the India-Russia summit, officials said that given that the year 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, a number of commemorative celebrations marking the important milestone is planned.
While India has been communicating its unhappiness to Russia over its joint military exercises with Pakistan, the two sides will also showcase their own military cooperation and the schedule of military exercises during the summit. An official told The Indian Express that the India-Russia military technical cooperation has evolved from a simple buyer-seller framework to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced defence technologies.