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Russia endorses civilian nuclear energy pact

By V S Chandrasekar in New York
September 16, 2005 11:14 IST
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Russia has appreciated the recent deal between India and the United States on civilian nuclear energy and the movement towards cooperation in relaxation of rules of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which it is a member.

The endorsement of the civilian nuclear energy deal signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the US in July, came during a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Dr Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York on Thursday.

The Russian President said Dr Singh's visit to the US in July would further improve cooperation between New Delhi and Washington in civilian nuclear energy area, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters. He said, in this context, Russia's cooperation with India in civilian nuclear energy was recalled, in particular, the cooperation relating to Kudankulam project, which is nearing completion.

On the issue of defence cooperation between India and Russia, which was based on traditional good ties between the two countries, the proposed visit of the Russian Defence Minister to India came up for discussion. The visits of the Russian prime minister and the Speaker of the Russian Upper House also figured during discussions.

Dr Singh thanked Russia for its support to India's case for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, its participation in the ITER project and in getting membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Group.

The issue of UN reforms and regional issues, including the Iran nuclear programme, also came up for discussion. Dr Singh said the strategic relationship between India and Russia was based on traditional ties. But, he felt, the economic relationship did not not reflect the full potential between the two countries for which efforts should be made.

It was proposed that a comprehensive study on economic ties between the two countries be set up, the spokesman said. India was awaiting Russia's response to the terms of reference it had sent and the President promised it would be ready by the time Dr Singh visits Moscow in December for the annual summit.

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V S Chandrasekar in New York
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