India inks deal on Gorshkov

Civil nuclear pact with Russia in the offing

India inks deal on Gorshkov

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reviews the honor guards shortly after his arrival at Vnukovo II airport outside Moscow on Sunday. PTI India and Russia have reached a broad agreement to break the logjam over the protracted price renegotiation over the aircraft carrier 'Admiral Gorshkov'.

The two sides are also expected to sign a landmark civil nuclear pact during summit talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday.

Seeking to resolve the Gorshkov price issue, the two countries have worked out a general agreement, sources said. A pact in this regard, however, is unlikely to be signed during Singh’s visit here.

The prime minister arrived here on a three-day visit that will also see the inking of three agreements in the field of defence, including one for ending ad-hocism in servicing Russian military equipment.

As a special gesture, the Russian president will host a private dinner for Singh and his wife at his countryside residence in Barvikha outside Moscow.

The path-breaking civil nuclear pact is significant as it will ensure uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies from Russia in the event of termination of bilateral ties in this field for any reason, the sources said. The agreement is considered by India as a “major improvement” over the 123 pact with the US which provides for not just termination of ongoing cooperation but also for the return to the country of already supplied components and fuel in the event of the accord being scrapped.

Annual summit

Singh, who will hold wide-ranging talks with Medvedev, said in a statement before his departure in New Delhi that he will review the status of bilateral cooperation, including in the key areas of defence, civil nuclear energy, space and hydrocarbons at the annual summit on Sunday.

“The annual summit is the principal mechanism for the advancement of our strategic partnership with Russia,” Singh, who will also meet PM Vladimir Putin, said.

On the nuclear deal, the sources said it is marked by a “forward-looking language” in matters relating to reprocessing, nuclear equipments and transfer of technology. During the summit-level talks, tough anti-terrorism steps and measures to give a boost to sluggish bilateral trade ties will be high on the agenda.

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