India and Russia are likely to sign as many as 18 agreements when PM Narendra Modi hosts President Vladimir Putin in Goa on Saturday for the 17th India-Russia annual summit meet
Defence and nuclear cooperation will again be among the highlights of their engagement with Putin likely to inaugurate the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying in Moscow by news agencies that cooperation in nuclear energy will be one of the central themes of the engagement.
Putin himself said in an interview to an Indian news agency that Russia remained in the lead in terms of both direct supplies of most advanced weapons and military equipment and conducting joint exercises with India “as well as producing goods for military purposes”.
“Our countries actively collaborate in the military technical field,” Putin said, as he described India as Russia’s especially privileged strategic partner.
The India-Russia annual summit will take place on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. India has raised with Russia the issue of the latter’s participation in a joint military exercise with Pakistan days after the Uri attack in which Pakistani terrorists killed 19 Indian soldiers. India is likely to insist on strong condemnation of international terrorism, if not cross-border terrorism specifically, at the Brics summit.
Putin said Brics is “determined” to fight the menace. “For our five countries’ leaders this meeting (in Goa) will be a good opportunity to harmonise our positions on key issues on the international agenda. We are determined to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption,” Putin said.
Talking about nuclear cooperation, Putin said the energy sphere played an important role in Russian-Indian trade and economic cooperation and that Kudankulam is a major long-term nu clear power plant project.
“In August 2016, Prime Minister Modi and I attended the ceremony where the NPP’s first power unit was transferred to India. The second unit will be put into operation in the near future.When they reach full capacity, the two units will substantially increase India’s energy supply and strengthen its energy security ,” said the Russian president.
The Rosatom State Corporation and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India have started preparations to construct units III and IV .The work is proceeding according to agreed schedule, said Putin.
“The project is being financed by Russia. The state loan is $3.4 billion (85% of the overall cost of contracts signed with Russian organizations). We are proceeding with the localization of component production in India.We have begun considering the construction of NPPs at other sites in India. Technological cooperation on uranium enrichment is coming along,” he said