Giving a fillip to their ties, India and Russia on Friday signed 19 pacts, including three in civil nuclear field and one for purchase of 29 MiG-29 fighters besides inking the revised agreement on Gorshkov aircraft carrier, a deal that was stuck for three years over price.
Under the agreements in civil nuclear field, Russia will build 12 atomic plants — six in Kudankulam and six in Haripur in West Bengal.
The agreements were signed during the day-long visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who held comprehensive talks with his counterpart Manmohan Singh with an aim of exploring opportunities for further boosting the relations.
They also discussed regional issues, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the context of terrorism and agreed to intensify their consultations on Afghanistan the challenges posed by terrorism and extremism in the region.
The pacts in civil nuclear field are Agreement on Cooperation in the use of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes and Agreement on Road Map for the Serial Construction of Russian Designed Nuclear Power Plants.
An MoU was also signed on Nuclear Power between NPCIL and Atomstroy Export for construction of Third and Fourth atomic plant in Kudankulum in Tamil Nadu.
The revised agreement on Gorshkov aircraft carrier deal was also signed during the visit. The deal had initially been signed in 2004 at the cost of USD 1.5 billion, along with 16 MiG-29Ks. However, the Russians later demanded USD 2.9 billion, citing escalation of costs.
After protracted negotiations, the two sides settled at USD 2.34 billion.
No military ties with Pak because of India: Putin
Highlighting the special status accorded by Russia to its ties with India, Putin said his country did not have any military cooperation with Pakistan because it understands India’s concerns.
On a visit here, Putin said terror groups operating out of Pakistan and Afghanistan were a threat to the entire world and action against these would be in the “best interest” of Pakistan itself.
“Unlike many other countries, Russia does not have any military cooperation with Pakistan because we bear in mind the concerns of our Indian friends,” he said.
He made the remarks after his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during which the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues including Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism emanating from these countries.
The two leaders exchanged views on Afghanistan where Taliban are showing signs of resurgence.
Earlier in the day, Putin said at a programme that Russia understood well the concerns of India regarding banned terror outfits operating against it from Pakistan.
“Parts of Afghanistan’s soil continues to be used by terror groups. We understand the concerns of India regarding the activities of banned outfits in Pakistan,” he said.
Noting that Pakistan has taken action against those outfits in the last few months, Putin said, “We hope addressing the problem (of terror groups) will be in the best interest of Pakistan. We need to support those efforts.”
Putin said India and Russia were concerned over terror activities and were strategic partners in the fight against terror.