From Russia with love

Giving a fillip to their ties, India and Russia signed 19 pacts, including three in the civil nuclear field and one for the purchase of 29 MiG-29 fighters. The two nations also inked 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 pacts were signed during the day-long visit of Russian PM Vladimir Putin, who held comprehensive talks with his counterpart Manmohan Singh to exploring opportunities for further boosting the relations. 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 on nuclear power was also signed 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 $1.5 billion. However, the Russians later demanded $2.9 billion, citing escalation of costs. After protracted negotiations, the two sides settled at $2.34 billion. The two sides also signed an agreement for sale of MiG-29K aircraft carrier-based fighters by Russia under a $1.5 billion contract. The supplies are scheduled to start in 2012. In the hydrocarbon sector, an agreement on Protocol of Cooperation was signed between ONGC and Russia’s Gazprom. A MoU was signed between Isro and Russia’s Federal Space Agency and JSC Navigation Information Systems for a joint enterprise for production of Satellite Navigation Equipment and Services for Civilian Users. Two pacts were signed in the field of fertilisers and five pacts were signed in diamond sector, besides an agreement in the military aviation sector.

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