In a major push to their strategic ties, India and Russia today decided to expand cooperation in various sectors as they signed 16 pacts, including on joint manufacture of 226 military helicopters and construction of 12 atomic plants with involvement of local companies in India.
After extensive talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined the need for the world to unite against terrorism “without distinction and discrimation between terrorist groups and target countries”, an apparent reference to sources of the menace like Pakistan.
Sharing concern over terrorism, the two sides pressed for joint fight against the global menace “without selectivity and double standards”, said a joint statement issued after the talks between the two leaders.
Putin conveyed Russia’s “strong support” to India’s bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, saying it is a “deserving and strong candidate that can bring an independent and responsible approach” within the world body.
The discussions covered a wide range of issues including terrorism, cooperation in the fields of defence, security and energy and ways to enhance trade and investment besides facilitating easier movement of people.
After the talks, the two sides signed 16 agreements.
One of these was an agreement on manufacture of Kamov 226 helicopter in India, which, the Prime Minister, said is the first project for a major defence platform under ‘Make-in-India’ programme.
With regard to nuclear energy, Modi said the pace of cooperation is increasing and progress is being made on 12 Russian reactors at two sites in India.
Putin said Unit-II of Kudankulam atomic plant in Tamil Nadu, being built by Russia, will be commissioned within weeks and negotiations are at an advanced staged for Unit III and IV.
In the atomic field, the two sides signed a significant agreement for “Localization of Manufacturing in India for Russian-Designed Nuclear Reactor Units” to enable participation of Indian firms under the ‘Make-in-India’ programme.
Affirming that their cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is a cornerstone of the Russia-India strategic partnership, the two leaders appreciated the progress made in the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project and agreed to expedite the implementation of ongoing and upcoming projects there.
“The sides welcomed progress in identifying the second site in India for additional six nuclear reactor units to be set up in cooperation with Russia,” said the Joint Statement titled ‘Shared Trust, New Horizons’.
In the joint press statement with Putin, Modi said, “The pace of our cooperation in nuclear energy is increasing. We are making progress on our plans for 12 Russian nuclear reactors at two sites.
“The agreement today will increase Indian manufacturing content in these reactors. It supports my mission of Make in India. I thank President Putin for his support.”
With regard to the defence cooperation, the Prime Minister said the Inter-Governmental Agreement on manufacture of Kamov 226 helicopter in India is the first project for a major defence platform under the ‘Make-in-India’ mission. “It is rightly with our most important defence partner,” he added.
“We have made progress on a number of other defence proposals. These would boost defence manufacturing in India and India’s defence readiness with next generation equipment,” Modi said.
Summing up his talks with Putin, he said, “we have laid the foundation of the future character of this strategic partnership.”