M A I N   N E W S

India, Russia for axis with China
But oppose anti-satellite missile test
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 25
India and Russia today supported their trilateral axis with China, but opposed Beijing’s January 11 testing of an anti-satellite missile saying that they were against militarisation of space.

President Putin went on to the extent of saying that some powers (read the USA) were trying to militarise space. “We should not let the genie out of the bottle. That is our position,” Mr Putin said at a joint press interaction with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after their formal talks.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin held the seventh Indo-Russian summit with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Hyderabad House here this afternoon, it was clear that the two giant countries’ decades-old-strategic ties were taken to a significantly higher level.

The UPA government took care to give signals about its clever diplomatic balancing vis a vis the USA and Russia and treated the Putin visit on a par with the March 2006 visit to India by President George W. Bush. This was demonstrated by the fact that the Prime Minister received Mr Putin at the airport. This is only the fourth time during his two and a half-year-long tenure that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cast aside the protocol to receive a foreign dignitary at the airport.

As expected the summit talks threw up a substantive outcome in such diverse fields as civilian, nuclear energy, space, defence, science, advanced technology, energy, trade and culture. The two sides today signed nine bilateral documents and adopted two more. This is over and above the two arms deals India and Russia had signed yesterday (i) for licensed production of Russian aircraft engines in India, and (ii) the joint development of a new transport plane.

An important highlight in the bilateral documents signed between the two countries was India’s inclusion to GLONASS, the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System. Now, India will have access to signals and radio frequency of GLONASS, which is an effective alternative to the American Global Positioning Satellite System (GPS) and the embryonic Galileo system of the European Union. 



India, Russia sign 9 pacts
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 25
India and Russia today signed nine bilateral documents and adopted two more after summit talks here between the visiting President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The following is the list of the bilateral documents signed between the two sides:

1. Joint Statement on the Outcome of the official visit of Mr Putin, signed by Dr Manmohan Singh and Mr Putin.

2. Programme of Cultural Exchanges between the Governments of India and Russia for the years 2007-09.

3. Protocol between the Indian and Russian governments on holding “Year of Russia in India” in the Year 2008 and “Year of India in Russia” in the Year 2009.

4. Memorandum of Intent between the Department of Atomic Energy (India) and Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Russia) on development of cooperation in the construction of additional nuclear power plant units at Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu) site as well as in the construction of Russian design nuclear power plants at new sites in India.

5. Agreement between the governments of India and Russia on the access of the Indian Party to navigation signals of the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System GLONASS for peaceful purposes.

6. Agreement between the governments of India and Russia on access of the Indian Party to a part of the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System GLONASS Radio Frequency Spectrum.

7. Agreement between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Federal Space Agency on cooperation in the joint satellite project ‘YOUTHSAT’.

8. Protocol between the Central Board of Excise and Customs (India) and the Federal Customs Service (Russia) on exchange of information on the movement of goods and conveyances between India and Russia.

9. Cooperation Agreement between Saraf Agency Private Limited Vneshekonom Bank of Russia and Joint Stock Company Technochim Holding.

Besides, the two sides adopted two more bilateral documents - a joint statement on cooperation in the energy sector and on celebrating 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Russia, starting from April 17, 2007.



India, Russia for resumption of talks with Iran
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 25
India and Russia today did some clever diplomatic balancing on the ticklish Iran issue.
The two sides, which came out with a joint statement on the outcome of visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin's India visit (January 25-26), reiterated their respective individually stated position in a joint manner when they said that an effective solution to the Iranian nuclear issue was "best found through political and diplomatic efforts."

At the same time, they also invoked the unanimous adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 1737 which underscores the need for more active and transparent cooperation of Iran with the IAEA in order to resolve outstanding verification issues. They agreed that implementation of the Resolution should facilitate resumption of negotiations with Iran for a long-term comprehensive agreement.

Russia also reaffirmed its support to India as "a deserving and strong candidate" for the permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council.

India and Russia strongly condemned terrorism "in all its forms and manifestations".

After the seventh India-Russia annual summit talks between Mr Putin and Prime MInister Manmohan Singh, the two sides reaffirmed that terrorism was one of the gravest threats to international peace and security.

They noted there could be no justification for any act of terrorism, irrespective of otivations, wherever and by whosoever committed.

The two sides declared their conviction that "terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any nationality, religious, cultural or ethnic group."

The two sides also expressed concern on the continuing deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan and the growing terrorist threat posed by the Taliban and other extremist forces.

On energy security issues, the two sides endorsed the concept of ‘energy security’ envisaging an acceptable balance between security of demand and security of supply. In view of their corresponding resources, needs, capabilities and potential, the sides agreed to further enhance direct dialogue between their oil and gas companies aimed at concluding concrete and mutually beneficial commercial agreements for joint work in all segments of oil and gas cooperation in India, Russia and third countries. The arrival of the first shipment of oil to India from Sakhalin-I in early December 2006 as well as the signing on January 25, 2007 of an MoU between ONGC and Rosneft oil company setting up two joint Working Groups - one each for upstream and downstream activities - demonstrate the viability of future India-Russia cooperation in the entire hydrocarbon value chain.

On military-technical cooperation, India and Russia noted that now they had progressed from a buyer-seller format to also include joint research and development, manufacturing and marketing, regular service to service interaction and joint exercises. This is corroborated by the India-Russia joint venture to manufacture Brahmos missile, which is expanding in scope, and has led the way to further such joint projects.

New Delhi and Moscow also called for expansion of cooperation within the China-Russia-India trilateral format. They noted that the first trilateral summit-level meeting, which took place in July 2006 in the outreach format of the G8 events in St. Petersburg, gave a fresh impetus to enhancing multifaceted interaction among the three states.

"The trilateral interaction promotes the development on mutually beneficial economic cooperation among India, Russia and China, enhances international accord in the field of countering new challenges and threats, especially in the fight against terrorism,and contributes to strengthening peace and stability in Asia and throughout the world," the Joint Statement said.

Mr Putin is the first Russian Head of State who will be Chief Guest at the Indian Republic Day parade tomorrow.

Mr Putin brought here a high level official delegation which also included a group of top Russian businessmen and industrialists representing diverse areas.He also met President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.



No immediate civilian N-energy aid
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 25
Those who thought that the good old Russian friends were just round the corner, ready with a shipment of nuclear reactors to help the Indian civilian nuclear energy programme, think again.

The obvious became a part of the diplomatic paperwork as after the Manmohan Singh-Vladimir Putin talks; New Delhi and Moscow agreed that their civilian nuclear energy cooperation would be “in accordance with their respective international commitments and national legislations.”

Blandly put, it means that till the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) lifted restrictions on the international community for nuclear commerce with India - the last of the three-stage process that would eventually end India’s nuclear apartheid - the Russians would not be able to do anything to help the Indian civilian nuclear energy programme.

On the brighter side, Russia pledged that it would continue to work with the participating governments of the NSG to create conditions through amendment to its guidelines to facilitate expansion of civilian nuclear energy cooperation with India.

India and Russia noted with satisfaction their ongoing cooperation in construction of nuclear power plants at Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu). In this context, the two sides also signed an agreement on cooperation in the construction of four additional power units at Kudankulam.

A joint statement on cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy, said: “India undertakes that the reactor facilities and nuclear fuel supplied by Russia shall remain under the IAEA safeguards during the entire period of their actual use in accordance with the agreement on safeguards, which shall be concluded between the Republic of India and the IAEA.

It will also inter alia take into account measures relating to physical protection and other issues as may be mutually agreed.”

It said as states possessing advanced nuclear technologies and as responsible states, India and Russia shared an objective of ensuring non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including possible linkages with terrorism.

The two sides recognised the importance of R&D for development of innovative technologies for reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation to further facilitate the wide scale development of nuclear energy.

They expressed their willingness to further expand and strengthen their bilateral civilian nuclear energy cooperation by broad-basing cooperation covering both power (fission and fusion energy) and non-power applications in areas of mutual interest to be identified by both sides.

The Department of Atomic Energy, India and the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, the Russian Federation will work out in 2007 a comprehensive programme of cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy between India and Russia.



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