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India, Russia sign 30 pacts

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during their joint press conference followed by signing of agreements at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: PTI

NEW DELHI (PTI): Imparting a new impetus to their "special and privileged" ties, India and Russia on Tuesday inked 30 pacts in several key areas such as civil nuclear cooperation and defence, including development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) to augment country's military capabilities.

During their nearly two-hour long annual summit meeting which encompassed a whole range of crucial bilateral, regional and global matters, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also took stock of the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan which impacts on the security of both the countries.

Besides deciding to enhance cooperation in crucial spheres of military, energy sector, science and technology, space research and pharmaceuticals, the two sides agreed to step up efforts to achieve the target of bilateral trade of USD 20 billion by 2015.

Apart from 11 pacts, which were signed after the talks, 19 agreements, including those between private companies of both the countries were inked on the margins of the summit.

The key pacts include Preliminary Design Contract for FGFA envisaging joint design and development by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russia's Sukhoi Design Bureau and Rosoboronexport, Framework Agreement on Cooperation in hydrocarbon sector and MoU for joint research and development in reactor technology and related fields for peaceful uses of atomic energy.

Other agreements pertained to simplification of visa procedure for certain categories, including for businessmen, enhancement of cooperation in oil and gas sector, MoU for cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector, MoU on combating irregular migration and agreement on cooperation in the field of emergency management.

"Our talks have been comprehensive and result- oriented. We have signed several important agreements covering a large number of sectors. This reflects our mutual desire to bring our cooperation in other areas at par with our traditionally strong cooperation in the defence and nuclear fields," Singh said at a joint press interaction with Medvedev.

The two leaders also discussed construction of additional Russian designed nuclear reactors at Kudankulam, where two units are ready to be commissioned. While first unit will be commissioned by end of this month or early next month, the second unit will be commissioned by next year-end.

Recalling their Moscow declaration on International Terrorism of 2001, the two leaders agreed that there is no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.

"The sides agreed that all terrorist networks must be defeated. They called upon Pakistan to expeditiously bring all the perpetrators, authors and accomplices of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice," the joint statement, issued after the talks, said.

Describing Russia as "a time tested friend of India that has stood by us in our times of need in the past", Singh said "Ours is a special and privileged strategic partnership. It is a partnership that has and will continue to develop independent of our relations with other countries".

On his part, Medvedev said Russia supports India as a "deserving and strong candidate" for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council as and when a decision for its expansion is taken.

Noting that the reform of the UNSC should be carried out in a manner that reflects contemporary realities and makes this body more effective in dealing with both present-day and emerging challenges, the two sides decided to work closely in the Security Council during the 2011-12 period when India occupies a non-permanent seat in it for a two-year term.

They also agreed to consider cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with third countries.

Reviewing the efforts to establish joint cooperation ventures between companies of the two countries in the oil and gas sectors, it was agreed that the inter-governmental pact on cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector signed Tuesday, must serve as an effective enabling legal mechanism to expedite governmental clearances to facilitate the creation and operation of such joint ventures.

The two countries agreed to promote specific projects to encourage direct business-to-business dialogue between Indian and Russian oil and gas companies, to ensure that the contacts result in concrete and mutually beneficial commercial agreements.

They expressed satisfaction at the extension of the Integrated Long Term Program (ILTP) for scientific and technical cooperation for another decade and its focus on identifying innovation-led technology programmes.

The two sides agreed to make efforts to continuously upgrade joint military exercises in all forms including in the field of counter-terrorism.

The Russian side also expressed its readiness to assist and promote a discussion and positive decision in the NSG on India's membership in the 46-nation grouping.

Russia also took into positive consideration India's interest in full membership in MTCR and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Apart from this, the Russian Federation agreed to make efforts along with other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members to accelerate the process of India's entry into the organisation.

The sides expressed concern at the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, where successful stabilization will be possible only after the elimination of safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism and violent extremism that are present in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the joint statement said.

Singh also said that India and Russia should cooperate in intelligence and information sharing and devise effective counter-terrorism strategies.

During the talks, Medvedev also extended an invitation to Singh to visit Russia next year which was accepted by the Prime Minister.

The two leaders also discussed global economic situation and agreed that to progress towards the shared goal of strong, sustainable and balanced growth it is essential for G20 countries to fully implement the Seoul Action Plan adopted at the recent G20 summit.

They welcomed the reform of the World Bank and reiterated their commitment to the successful completion of the reform of the International Monetary Fund as agreed to at the G20 Seoul Summit which will be a significant achievement in the general reform of the international financial architecture, the joint statement said.

On climate change issue, the statement 'celebrating a decade of the India-Russia Federation strategic partnership and looking ahead' said the sides stressed the importance of enhancing international efforts to combat the change under the aegis of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

They expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the Cancun Climate Conference and agreed that the post Cancun negotiations should be part of a comprehensive package covering all the pillars of the Bali Action Plan.

Medvedev, who is on a three-day visit, will travel tomorrow to Agra followed by Mumbai where he will go to film-city and IIT.


India  Russia  defence  
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