M A I N   N E W S

Russia to build four N-reactors
Condemns Mumbai attack, asks all states to cooperate
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

PM reaches out to the world

Manmohan SinghMaking it clear that India wanted the US to put pressure on Pakistan, Manmohan Singh said it was the “obligation” of the world community to ensure that perpetrators of the “horrible” crime are brought to justice. Singh said India would await the “outcome” of its message to the world before deciding on future course of action with regard to Pakistan.

New Delhi, December 5
India and Russia today signed a long-pending agreement for cooperation in the civilian nuclear energy field, besides nine other key accords as Russian President Dmitri Medevdev, on his maiden visit to India, declared Moscow’s readiness to help New Delhi combat terror in the wake of the heinous attack on Mumbai.

The agreements were signed after wide-ranging talks between Medevdev and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as New Delhi rolled out a red-carpet welcome for the visiting dignitary.

Official sources said the Mumbai incidents figured prominently during the discussions between the two sides with the Russian leader condemning the attacks in unequivocal terms. Singh is also believed to have shared with Russia the evidence that pointed to the involvement of elements in Pakistan in the attacks.

Medvedev offered his condolences to the Indian Prime Minister and called upon all states, which obviously include Pakistan, to cooperate actively with and provide support and assistance to the Indian authorities in their efforts to find and bring to justice the perpetrators, organisers, sponsors, patrons or those in way connected to these ‘barbaric acts’ in India.

Though the two countries also signed a contract for the supply of 80 MI-17V-5 helicopters by Russia to India, it was quite clear that they were finding it difficult to resolve their differences on some major defence deals. However, Medvedev described these differences as minor in nature.

At a joint press conference with Manmohan Singh, Medvedev, who took over from Vladimir Putin as the Russian President earlier this year, said the two countries had identified ways to remove irritants which have hit negotiations on deals pertaining to Admiral Gorshkov, Akola class nuclear submarines and T-90 tanks.

Among the accords, the most significant is the one on cooperation in the civilian nuclear energy field, under which Russia will construct four additional nuclear power plants at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and also assist India in the construction of Russian designed nuclear power plants at new sites in this country.

Russia has thus become the third country with which India has signed a nuclear deal after it got approval from the nuclear suppliers’ group (NSG) to undertake nuclear commerce. It has already inked nuclear deals with France and the US to meet its growing energy needs.

According to a joint declaration signed by Medvedev and Singh, the two sides underlined the importance of nuclear energy as a clean and safe source of energy to meet growing energy requirements and welcomed the recent decision of the NSG on nuclear cooperation with India.

The agreement was ready even during the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Moscow in November last year but the two sides decided to ink it only after the NSG nod for India.

The other pacts were: protocol on the 14th session of the Indo-Russian inter-governmental commission on trade, economic, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation; MoU between the Indian Space Research Organisation and the Russian Federal Space Agency on joint activities in the field of human spaceflight programme, joint action programme for cooperation in the field of tourism, agreement between the Financial Intelligence Unit of India and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of Russia; and MoU between co-chairs of the CEO’s council. The last agreement was signed on behalf of India by Mukesh Ambani, managing director of Reliance Industries Limited.

In the joint declaration, the two sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterated that there could be no justification for any act of terror, wherever, for whatever reason and by whosoever committed. They affirmed the role of the UN as a major inter-governmental organisation to coordinate efforts to counter international terrorism.

Moscow reaffirmed its support for India as a deserving and strong candidate for the permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council. They expressed satisfaction at the progress towards achieving the target of bilateral trade volume of $10 billion by 2010.

On the current global financial crisis, the two sides emphasised the importance of comprehensive reform of the international financial and economic architecture in order to adapt it to new realities in global economy and agreed to cooperate in various formats to promote a more just world economic order.

Medvedev also met President Pratibha Patil, leader of the opposition L.K. Advani and other Indian leaders and conveyed his deep sense of sorrow over the Mumbai attacks.



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