M A I N   N E W S

Russia for lifting N-sanctions
Vajpayee, Putin hold talks
M K Razdan

Moscow, November 11
Seeking to build on India’s strategic partnership with Russia, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee tonight held informal talks with President Vladimir Putin shortly after arriving here to a red carpet welcome.

In an honour reserved only for a select few world leaders, Mr Putin hosted a private dinner for Vajpayee at Novoo Gareva dacha located in a sprawling forest area, 15 km outside this capital city.

External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha and Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Brajesh Mishra were present at the dinner. The two leaders held informal talks in the presence of only the interpreters.

No official word was available on the subject of their discussions as formal summit talks were scheduled tomorrow at the Kremlin when 10 agreements and a joint declaration on global challenges posed by issues such as terrorism would be signed.

Landing at Vunkovo airport after an eight-hour flight that avoided Pakistani airspace, Mr Vajpayee was received by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Alyoshin and Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov and Indian Ambassador K Raghunath.

Russia called for lifting of sanctions against India on the supply of nuclear technologies.

“It is high time to review bans on nuclear cooperation with India imposed in 1992 by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),” Russian Atomic Energy Ministry said today ahead of National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra’s scheduled meeting with Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev.

“Besides the ongoing construction of two VVER-1000 MW light water reactors at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, India wants four more such reactors for power generation, but Russia’s hands are tied until NSG sanctions are eased,” a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Ministry said, noting that the Kudankulam deal was signed before Russia joined the NSG in 1992. Mr Vajpayee will have formal talks with Putin tomorrow, their third this year, during which defence cooperation, fight against international terrorism and the situation in Iraq are expected to figure prominently. — PTI

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