Historic pact will expand horizon of Indo-Russian nuke ties: PM

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Moscow, Dec.7 (ANI): Visiting Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday expressed the hope that the signing of the landmark inter-governmental agreement on the peaceful use of atomic energy between India and Russia would expand the horizon of nuclear relationship between the two countries.

Addressing a joint press conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev here shortly after the historic signing, Dr. Singh said:"Today, we have signed an agreement that broadens the reach of our cooperation beyond supplies of nuclear reactors to areas of research and development and a whole range of areas in nuclear energy."

The nuclear agreement was signed by Dr. S. Banerjee, Chairman, Department of Atomic Energy from Indian side and Sergey V. Kirienko, Director General of Rosatom, in the presence of both leaders at the Kremlin.

It provides for uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies from Russia even in the event of a termination of bilateral ties in this field for any reason. Other benefits include research and development; construction of nuclear plants; supply of uranium and upfront consent for the reprocessing of spent fuel. There is also a condition that any termination of the agreement will be without prejudice to ongoing contracts and fuel supply obligations.

Russia is already building four reactors at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and has been assigned a new site to build more reactors in Haripur, West Bengal.

President Medvedev said: "We have experience in working in Kudankulam.

We are thinking about to how to work on another area. The documents which was just initialled by the respective leaders, will pave the way for the development of this cooperation for years to come."

Earlier in July, the Group of Eight had passed a resolution proposed by United States to ban transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) items to countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Russia is also a part of the grouping, but President Medvedev said if the G-8 resolution on ENR is implemented, even then Russia will continue its nuclear cooperation with India.

"The Russian Federation is prepared to discuss in a very friendly term with our Indian partners all the questions of nuclear cooperation here. Nothing changes for us," President Medvedev said.

The two sides also signed agreements on extending their long termmilitary cooperation programme for another ten years till 2020, on theafter sales and product support of the Russian origin militaryhardware and a protocol for the joint development and production of multi-role transport aircraft for the armed forces. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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