Russia may set up a total of 20-24 nuclear energy units in India against previously agreed 14-16 plants as both countries are likely to come out with a roadmap for cooperation in the crucial energy sector during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit here for annual Summit talks on Thursday.
Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin said on Monday (8 December) both countries are likely to start negotiations for setting up of unit five and six at the Kudankulam nuclear power complex soon and may sign a technical pact for unit 3 and 4 during Putin's visit. "We have big plans on nuclear energy cooperation," he said, addressing a press conference ahead of the Russian leader's visit. Kadakin said trial run for unit 2 of Kudankulam nuclear power should start in March and that technical glitches in unit one are being resolved. "Russia had agreed to help India build 14-16 nuclear units. Now it seems that the demand of India is much bigger and this may rise to 20-24 units," he said. Asked about escalation of cost in setting up of nuclear power plants, he chose not to link it to clauses in India's nuclear liability laws and only said prices have gone up everywhere. "Cooperation between the two countries in peaceful uses of nuclear energy will prominently figure at the Summit level talks. More than that a very serious and important document is on the anvil which relates to our common vision of joint work in our efforts to satisfy India's requirement in energy through building a series of nuclear plants," the envoy said. He said Russia was also expecting from the Indian side the name of the new site for another "cascade of nuclear power units". Kadakin also took potshots at the western powers, saying the Summit is taking place "against the background of a burdened international milieu, when we face increasing pressure of the US and their allies, trying to force our country to succumb its state sovereignty and act against our own national interests". "This will never happen, and these daydreaming minions should better get rid of illusions that Russia would ever act under anybody's diktat or pressure. Who are they to dictate to us?," he asked. Kadakin complimented India for supporting Russia and standing against the "aspirations of certain states towards domination or their destructive mixing of political and economic goals". Asked about India's ties with the US and invitation to President Barack Obama to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade, he said Russia was not jealous over it. "We do not feel jealous. Though of course, I would say India is a very rich fiancee and those bridegrooms loitering around and roaming around India, its good. It is good to have have many grooms for a beautiful fiancee. But (no one) should deceive you by promising a marriage and then fail you," he said in a lighter vein.Kadakin said India was a super power in the making and it was free to make its friends. The envoy said Putin's visit will reiterate "anew that our countries were, are and will be strategic partners, bound by special and privileged cooperation, set to further jointly solve international problems in accordance with their national aspirations". "The new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken active steps to impart a new dimension to India's external political and economic course 'Look East' by turning it into 'Act East' programme," he said. Asked about the status of the fifth generation fighter aircraft project between the two countries, he said talks were still on and hoped that the first aircraft will come out by 2018.He said India has been insisting on a "bigger share" in design of the fighter jet plane. "We have enough work left in the project," he said. On the proposed gas pipeline from Russia to India, he said studies are being conducted for the ambitious project. Noting that there was huge scope for enhancing bilateral trade which at $10 billion currently, he said a strong group of around 15 Russian business tycoons will accompany Putin to explore possible areas of cooperation. He said India was also working to have a trade pact with "Eurasian space" for improved trade and commerce.
Business world, 08 Dec, 2014