Russia to build 12 nuke reactors in India in next 20 years

Russia to build 12 nuke reactors in India in next 20 years

Russia will build at least 12 nuclear reactors in India by 2035 and agreed to manufacture advanced helicopters as both countries today signed 20 pacts in oil, gas, defence, investment and other key sectors to further ramp up their strategic cooperation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in their annual summit, vowed to take the close ties to a new level as both sides outlined a new vision for nuclear energy cooperation.

Calling Russia a "pillar of strength" for India, Modi, in a joint media interaction with Putin, said the strategic partner will remain New Delhi's "most important defence partner" though options have increased.

"President Putin and I discussed a broad range of new defence projects. We also discussed how to align our defence relations to India's own priorities, including Make in India.

"I am pleased that Russia has offered to fully manufacture in India one of its most advanced helicopters. It includes the possibility of exports from India. It can be used for both military and civilian use. We will follow up on this quickly," Modi said after around three-and-half-hour long meeting with Putin.

Referring to cooperation in the nuclear sector, Modi said both sides have charted out an ambitious vision for nuclear energy of at least ten more reactors and noted that they will have the highest standards of safety in the world.

"It will also include manufacture of equipment and components in India. This also supports our Make in India policy," he said.

The strategic vision document on nuclear cooperation said the two Sides have decided to fast-track the implementation of agreed cooperation projects for nuclear power plants.

"Both Sides will strive to complete the construction and commissioning of not less than 12 units in the next two decades, in accordance with the Agreement of 2008.

The 20 agreements signed between the two countries provided for cooperation in a spectrum of areas including nuclear energy, oil and gas, health, investment, mining, media and wind power.

Terming the talks as "substantive", Putin said Russia will support "joint high technology" projects and will facilitate the establishment of an Indian operator of mobile communications besides offering India its civil aviation aircraft.

Putin said Russia and India have been long cooperating in the defence sector and the two countries have reached a level of joint production of military hardware.

Indicating that Russia was not averse to production of military hardware in India, he said both the countries have already successfully implemented the Brahmos missile programme and was working on a jet fighter and the multi-role transport aircraft programme.

During the talks, the Indian side agreed to expeditiously identify a second site, in addition to Kudankulam, for the construction of the Russian-designed nuclear power units in India.

On defence cooperation, Modi said a broad range of new defence projects were discussed that covered how to align "our defence relations to India's own priorities, including Make in India."

"I also proposed that Russia should locate manufacturing facilities in India for spares and components for Russian defence equipment in India. He responded very positively to my request," the Prime Minister said.

Noting that energy security was critical to India's economic development, Modi said both countries will set an ambitious agenda for partnership in oil and natural gas.

The pacts signed today include an agreement which provides for cooperation, covering joint exploration and production of hydrocarbons, long term LNG supplies and joint study of a hydrocarbon pipeline system connecting Russia with India.

Oil India Limited signed an MoU Russia's Zarubezhneft for cooperation in joint search and evaluation of new hydrocarbons exploration, production, and transportation projects.

India's ESSAR and Russia's ROSNEFT also inked a pact for long-term supply of crude oil. The pact envisages ten year supply and purchase by India of crude oil.

An MoU was signed between TATA Power and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) for cooperation in exploring investment opportunities in the energy sector across the Russian Federation.

A separate pact was inked envisaging acquisition of stakes by a consortium of Indian companies in a USD two billion project of ACRON, a Russian fertilizer company.

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