8 Dec : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday after a three-day visit to Russia, during which the two sides signed a path-breaking civil nuclear agreement and three defence pacts.
Dr Singh had on Monday met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and discussed a wide range of issues, including terrorism.
The two sides signed a path-breaking civil nuclear agreement that will guarantee uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies for Indian atomic reactors and transfer of technology.
The deal is seen as going much forward for the benefit of India than the historic 123 atomic agreement with the US which does not guarantee fuel supplies without any break.
Dr Singh had described the the Inter-Governmental framework agreement for civil nuclear cooperation as a “major step” forward and said India was “very satisfied” at the development of bilateral atomic cooperation.
In Moscow, Dr Singh addressed India Russia CEOs Council meeting and termed it important mechanism for boosting private sector cooperation between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the scheduled closing Ceremony of the Year of India celebrations was cancelled as a mark of respect for the victims of the fire tragedy in Russian city Perm.
In the last leg of the visit, Prime Minister will interact with prominent intellectuals and scholars from Russia before his departure for India.
The agreements, signed after the Annual Summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the Kremlin in Moscow this afternoon, also includes signing of a pathbreaking agreement for expanding civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries that goes ”far beyond even the 123 agreement” inked by India with the US.
The pathbreaking civil nuclear deal signed between the two countries commits Russia to transfer enrichment and reprocessing technologies to India.
It also ensures uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies from Russia to nuclear reactors in India.
”The agreement expands civil nuclear cooperation between India and Russia beyond just supplies of nuclear reactors, to cover research and development and an entire gamut of issues in nuclear cooperation,” the Prime Minister told reporters at a joint press conference with Medvedev after the signing of the agreements.
The two countries also signed an agreement to cooperate in the peaceful use of nuclear technology.
The two countries also signed a pact on increasing defence cooperation between them. The agreement, that runs from 2011 to 2022, commits Moscow to offer sales support to New Delhi for the Defence equipment it sells to India.
An agreement for cultural exchange between the two countries till 2012 was also signed. They also inked a deal for cooperation between the two countries on the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
On the occasion, Dr Singh and Medvedev also adopted a joint declaration for deepening of the strategic partnership between India and Russia to meet global challenges.
Dr Singh said, ”We welcome greater Russian participation in the expansion of our nuclear energy programme. The successful conclusion of negotiations on an inter Governmental Agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy is a major step forward in strengthening our existing cooperation in the field.”
On the Defence agreements signed between the two countries, the Prime Minister said, ”The agreements that we have signed in the field of defence cooperation, in particular on the programme for military and technical cooperation for the period 2011 to 2020, will provide a basis for an extensive and broad based cooperation in this vital area.”
India’s ties with third countries not at cost of Russia: PM
Seeking to take forward the strategic partnership to new heights, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday made it clear that India’s relations with third countries will never be at the cost of “time-tested ties” with Russia.
After a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the Kremlin which he described as “very productive”, Singh said, “a stronger Russia is important for world peace.”
Both India and Russia have a joint role to play to deal with regional and international issues, including steps for revival of global economy, terrorism and reforms of international institutions, Singh said in his opening remarks before the two sides got into delegation-level talks.
Noting that he was visiting Russia for the second time this year, the Prime Minister said this showed the importance attached by India in taking forward the bilateral relations in various spheres.
“Our relations with third countries will never be at the cost of our time-tested relationship with Russia,” he said.
He said Indo-Russia strategic partnership is a “unique” partnership, firmly rooted in mutual interest and confidence and a shared vision of a multi-polar world.
In his remarks, the Russian President said the agreements finalised by the two countries reflected the strategic partnership of a “great variety”.
The Russian President noted that Indo-Russian trade has increased by 8 percent despite a global slowdown and said this augmented well for the improvement of bilateral ties in this area.
“In spite of the crisis our trade turnover has grown by 8 percent in first 9 months of 2009, I hope by the end of the year it would further grow,” the Russian President said.
Singh shared the sentiments of Medvedev on this issue.
Singh began his Moscow schedule on Monday with the laying of wreath at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier with eternal flame.
During their informal talks on Sunday night, Singh said, “I want to assure you that relations with Russia are most important and we have no such relations with any other country of the world.
On his part, Medvedev said, “Every visit of the Indian Prime Minister is always a big event.”
“It can only be like this because Russia and India are good friends,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev identified defence, energy and knowledge based industry as the key areas of Indo-Russian cooperation.