Russian president arrives Monday, to sign space, energy deals

Sunday, December 19, 2010

NEW DELHI - Russian President Dmitri Medvedev will arrive here late Monday night, with a planeload of high-level ministers, officials and businessmen, aiming to wrap up agreements in areas from civilian nuclear energy, to hydrocarbons, to space and defence.

Medvedev’s special aircraft will touch down in Delhi, a few minutes after midnight Monday. He will hold formal talks with Manmohan Singh Tuesday morning - which will the eleventh edition of the annual bilateral summits which started with declaration of strategic partnership in 2000.

Also on Tuesday, Medvedev will travel to Agra, before moving on to to Mumbai. In India’s commercial capital, he will visit the Indian Institute of Technology and Film City.

“India is quite satisfied by the first decade of strategic partnership. This summit will firm up the blueprint for the next decade,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said here Sunday.

He added that a “number of agreements” would be signed, with discussions ongoing in areas like “space, economic and defence sectors”. Prakash described nuclear energy and hydrocarbons as the “twin pillars for long-term strategic energy partnership” between India and Russia.

Earlier, Russian envoy to India, Alexander Kadakin said Russia was upbeat about building 14-16 nuclear reactors in India over the next few years, but asked New Delhi to bring its civilian nuclear liability legislation in line with global norms.

The two countries would ink an accord under which Russia would set up two more 1,000 MW units at Kudankulam, Kadakin had stated.

On Sunday, MEA’s joint secretary (Eurasia) Ajay Bisariya told reporters that talks for technical and commercial for third and fourth reactors at Kudankulam nuclear power plant “were on”. “The first unit will go critical soon, followed by second unit,” he said.

Further, he added that negotiations were on for the second site for setting up a nuclear power plant with Russian help.

The MEA official noted that the India was “waiting for substantial progress” on deals related to visa facilitation agreement, recognition for Russian medical diplomas and degrees and illegal migration.

On the fifth generation fighter aircraft, Prakash demurred on whether an agreement would be signed during the current visit.

“That is a long term project of advanced manufacturing and it will have a number of milestones in it and we don’t know whether one or two of them will be achieved during the meeting here,” he said.

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