Russia nuke coop to continue but people's concerns matter: PM
Last updated: 15 December, 2011
Moscow, Dec 15 (PTI) 13:51 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured Russia that India would fulfil all its commitments on bilateral nuclear cooperation while according top priority to safety issues and concerns raised by people in Kundankulam.
Before embarking on a visit to Moscow that comes amid anti-nuclear protests at the site of the Russia-assisted project in Tamil Nadu, Singh said his government takes people's concerns "seriously" but the Indo-Russian atomic cooperation "would continue".
During Singh's three-day visit for the 12th annual Indo-Russian Summit, the two countries are expected to sign seven to nine agreements to expand cooperation in the fields of trade, defence and energy.
However, the contract for construction of two more reactors of Russian design at Kudankulam is unlikely to be signed even though negotiations are at an "advanced" stage.
In an interview to Russian media before his visit, Singh also said that trade and commercial cooperation needs to become "more contemporary and reflective of our capacities".
"The protests in Kudankulam reflect the concern among people about the safety of nuclear energy," Singh said pointing out that the facility had elicited environment and livelihood concerns among local people.
He said the government has set up an independent group of experts to respond to all "legitimate and genuine concerns and fears of the local people". However, he said Russia had been a partner to India in times of difficulty, even when there were restrictions on nuclear commerce with India, and New Delhi was committed to its pledges in the field with Moscow.
"As far as India-Russia cooperation in the nuclear field is concerned, this will continue and we will fulfil our commitments," he said.