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Monday, December 7, 2009

Indo-Russian relations good for world peace: Indian PM

Good relations between India and Russia are "a factor of peace and stability" in this changing world, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today.

Dr Singh told newsmen before leaving for Moscow on a 3-day official trip that he would exchange notes on bilateral cooperation in nuclear energy, oil and gas, defence, trade, space and scientific cooperation, regional and global situation as well as terrorism. The two countries are due to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

Reliable sources told WAM that the thorny issue of increased payment demanded by Russia over and above the originally contracted price of aircraft carrier Gorshkov for the Indian Navy had also been resolved and an announcement was expected during Dr Singh's visit.

In his statement, Dr Manmohan Singh said: "I am confident that my visit will be yet another step forward in consolidating our cooperation with Russia and in reinforcing the fact that the India-Russia strategic partnership is a factor of peace and stability in the evolving international situation," Manmohan Singh said in a statement as he left for Moscow.

"This is a partnership based on the solid foundation of long-standing friendship, deep mutual trust and strong convergence of interests," the Prime Minister said.

He stressed that "the multifaceted cooperation" between India and Russia has acquired "greater depth and maturity" through joint efforts over the years. "We seek to strengthen these ties further." Russia has actively supported India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and India has announced two sites for new Russian atomic reactors. But Russia is he main backer for some of the existing nuclear plants.

Russia has helped design India's indigenous nuclear reactors, including the one for india's first nuclear submarine, Arihant, which is due to be commissioned in about two years from now.

One of the indigenously-built (but with Russian design assistance) fast breeder reactors at Kudankulam nuclear power plant in southern India is just about to become operational.

Its huge stainless steel main vessel - 12.9 metres in diameter and 12.94 metres in height, weighing 206 tonnes - has just been lowered into the safety vessel, and the plant will be turned critical towards generating 500 mg of power by Sep 2011.

India has excellent home-grown expertise in fast-breeder reactors, and the Kudankulam plant is a shining example of that.(Orginal News)