March 13, 2010 3:13:58 am
India and Russia on Friday signed several agreements on defence,space and nuclear cooperation even as Moscow gently reminded New Delhi that it remained the only power in the world that had never supplied military equipment to Pakistan. The two sides also signed a comprehensive nuclear deal and an agreement to build two power plants in Kodankulam in Tamil Nadu.
Sources said visiting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recalled historic ties that bind the two sides and reiterated his countrys commitment to India by pointing out that Russia had refused to sell military hardware to Pakistan.
The two sides signed several agreements to enhance defence cooperation in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the visiting Russian PM. They signed a $2.33 billion deal to refurbish the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and $1.6 bn deal to buy 29 new MiG-29K fighters for Navy. As many as 14 supplementary agreements were signed on the final price and technical issues on the Gorshkov carrier. An agreement was also signed on the military aviation sector.
About the defence deals,Singh said,We have finalised several important and long-pending defence cooperation projects which will deepen our longstanding partnership in this vital sector.
Singh said relations with Russia were a key pillar of Indias foreign policy,and we regard Russia as a trusted and reliable strategic partner.
Apart from signing key agreements in the strategic sectors,the two sides also talked about Afghanistan and terrorism. As Putin expressed concern over terror groups operating from Afghanistan and Pakistan,saying it was a threat to the entire world,Singh said the two sides had agreed to intensify cooperation on Afghanistan and terrorism.
Earlier in the day,Putin said Russia understood the concerns of India regarding banned terror outfits operating from Pakistans soil. Participating in a video conference with businessmen from Delhi,Mumbai,Kolkata and Bangalore,Putin said,As far as terror groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan are concerned,it is a matter of worry for the entire region and,in fact,the whole world. However,he said,Lets be realistic… Pakistan has taken action against those outfits in the last few months.
He said due to India and Russias proximity to the Afghan border,the situation in that country did impact the security of the two countries.
Singh said,We have agreed to strengthen our cooperation in hydrocarbons through greater collaboration between our oil and gas companies. Agreements have been signed in areas of fertilisers. We have identified information technology and telecommunications as focus areas for our future economic cooperation.
The countries also signed five agreements on trade of diamonds and an agreement on the oil and natural gas sector. The agreement between NPCIC and its Russian counterpart to set up two nuclear power plans at Kodankulam was also inked.