A big day for India-Russia nuclear cooperation

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Moscow, Dec.7 (ANI): Officials here are calling it as a big day for the India-Russia strategic relationship.

After several rounds of discussions and hectic negotiations, both sides have finalized a forward-looking broad-based civil nuclear agreement.

The agreement will be formally inked later in the day following summit-level talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The new nuclear agreement is viewed here as a big takeaway and a path-breaking document. According to officials, it will go far beyond the 123 civil nuclear agreement that India sealed with the United States last year.

Under the new pact, Russia has ensured fuel supply guarantee even in the event of India conducting a nuclear test, whereas the 123 agreement with the United States clearly specifies that all kinds of nuclear cooperation will be terminated in case India goes ahead with a nuclear test.

There is, however, a clause which says the reasons and circumstances will be viewed before the termination and compensation will be paid.

The new nuclear pact between India and Russia also promises enrichment and reprocessing rights and access to high end technology (light weight reactors).

Before the Moscow visit, the Prime Minister had said that Washington had assured him that the issue of reprocessing fuel under a safeguarded plant would be sorted out soon, but delegation-level discussion are still trying to forge a consensus on the issue.

Russian Officials are viewing the new nuclear arrangement as a breakthrough.

Another factor that gives an additional edge to the Indo-Russian civil nuclear pact is the issue of liability insurance. In the case of the United States, private companies like Westinghouse and GE are asking India to comply, whereas in the case of Russia's state-run nuclear power corporation Rosatom, there is no request for liability or insurance cover. (ANI)

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