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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

India, Russia sign big deals in defence, nuclear cooperation, discuss situation in Afghanistan & Pakistan

New Delhi Dec 21 : India and Russia Tuesday inked 30 pacts in several key areas such as civil nuclear cooperation and defence, including development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) to augment country's military capabilities.

During their nearly two-hour long annual summit meeting which encompassed a whole range of crucial bilateral, regional and global matters, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also took stock of the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Besides deciding to enhance cooperation in crucial spheres of military, energy sector, science and technology, space research and pharmaceuticals, the two sides agreed to step up efforts to achieve the target of bilateral trade of USD 20 billion by 2015.

Apart from 11 pacts, which were signed after the talks, 19 agreements, including those between private companies of both the countries were inked on the margins of the summit.

The key pacts include Preliminary Design Contract for FGFA envisaging joint design and development by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russia's Sukhoi Design Bureau and Rosoboronexport, Framework Agreement on Cooperation in hydrocarbon sector and MoU for joint research and development in reactor technology and related fields for peaceful uses of atomic energy.

"Our talks have been comprehensive and result- oriented. We have signed several important agreements covering a large number of sectors. This reflects our mutual desire to bring our cooperation in other areas at par with our traditionally strong cooperation in the defence and nuclear fields," Singh said at a joint press interaction with Medvedev.
The two leaders also discussed construction of additional Russian designed nuclear reactors at Kudankulam, where two units are ready to be commissioned. While first unit will be commissioned by end of this month or early next month, the second unit will be commissioned by next year-end.

Recalling their Moscow declaration on International Terrorism of 2001, the two leaders agreed that there is no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.

Describing Russia as "a time tested friend of India that has stood by us in our times of need in the past", Singh said "Ours is a special and privileged strategic partnership. It is a partnership that has and will continue to develop independent of our relations with other countries".

On his part, Medvedev said Russia supports India as a "deserving and strong candidate" for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council as and when a decision for its expansion is taken.

They also agreed to consider cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with third countries.

They expressed satisfaction at the extension of the Integrated Long Term Program (ILTP) for scientific and technical cooperation for another decade and its focus on identifying innovation-led technology programs.

The two sides agreed to make efforts to continuously upgrade joint military exercises in all forms including in the field of counter-terrorism.

The Russian side also expressed its readiness to assist and promote a discussion and positive decision in the NSG on India's membership in the 46-nation grouping.

Russia also took into positive consideration India's interest in full membership in MTCR and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Apart from this, the Russian Federation agreed to make efforts along with other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members to accelerate the process of India's entry into the organisation.

The sides expressed concern at the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, where successful stabilization will be possible only after the elimination of safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism and violent extremism that are present in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the joint statement said.

Singh also said that India and Russia should cooperate in intelligence and information sharing and devise effective counter-terrorism strategies.

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