Putin vows to help India get NSG waiver
NEW DELHI: Eager to maintain a first-mover advantage in the Indian nuclear energy and defence markets, Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived here on Thursday, a step ahead of the game, with promises of nuclear cooperation and to help India get beyond international curbs.
Even as Russia promised to help India get an exemption in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Intent to build four new power units in Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu), as well as new nuclear plants throughout India.
A similar commitment was made in a more broad-based joint statement on civil nuclear cooperation Ă˘â‚¬â€ť promising that after an NSG nod, India and Russia will "work out in 2007 a comprehensive programme of cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy". India and Russia signed nine agreements in all.
The joint statement said, "India and Russia express their willingness to further expand and strengthen their bilateral civilian nuclear energy cooperation by broadbasing cooperation covering both power (fission and fusion energy) and non-power application in areas of mutual interest..."
In response, PM Manmohan Singh said, "We appreciate RussiaĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s support in lifting international restrictions on nuclear cooperation and assisting India in expansion of our nuclear energy programme."
Stating that Russia remains "indispensable to the core of Indian foreign policy", Singh said discussions with Putin were extremely useful and productive and confirmed once again that "our strategic partnership is based on deep convergence of vital national interests". Earlier, the PM broke protocol Ă˘â‚¬â€ť yet again Ă˘â‚¬â€ť to greet Putin at the airport, setting the tone for the visit.
Putin's visit, a packed affair, is high on intent and promises. It's mainly intended to revitalising the partnership with India, which, of late, seemed to be veering towards the US.