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India, Russia sign civil nuclear pact

India and Russia today signed a path-breaking broad-based agreement in civil nuclear field that will ensure transfer of technology and uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies to its nuclear reactors and inked three pacts in the defence sector.

The agreements were signed after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the Kremlin here, during which they discussed a whole range of issues, including terrorism emanating from Afghanistan.

“Today we have signed an agreement that broadens the reach of our cooperation beyond supplies of nuclear reactors to areas of research and development and a whole range of areas in nuclear energy,” Singh told a joint press conference with Medvedev.

The Prime Minister said the agreement will deepen and strengthen the already existing nuclear cooperation between the two countries under which four new nuclear reactors would be set up by Russia in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and a site for the fifth one has been identified in West Bengal.

The Prime Minister said the agreement on nuclear cooperation is a major step forward and that both the leaders were satisfied over the agreement on nuclear power cooperation.

The two sides also signed agreements on extending their long term military cooperation programme for another ten years till 2020, on the after sales and product support of the Russian origin military hardware and a protocol for the joint development and production of multi-role transport aircraft for the armed forces.

Singh and Medvedev also discussed regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, in which both the countries have a stake and favoured a “stable and prosperous” Afghanistan.

India and Russia will intensify cooperation to meet the grave challenges of terrorism and religious extremism.

Noting that he was visiting Russia for the second time in six months, Singh said this reflected the close ties between the two countries. He said Russia is a major power and a factor of peace and stability in the international system.

“India accords highest priority in its relations with Russia and this relationship stands on a firm footing and is not influenced by relations with any other country,” he said.

Calling Indo-Russian relationship as “multi- dimensional and multi-faceted”, he said the two countries have decided to raise the level of bilateral trade from the present level to $30 billion by 2015.

He said the two countries have identified areas like information technology and communication for giving that impetus.

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