NEW DELHI: Bonhomie and warmth were on show as President Vladmir Putin visited India and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, agreeing on pacts in civil nuclear energy and defence. With US president Barack Obama arriving next month as Republic Day chief guest, Modi reassured the visiting leader, “We have a strategic partnership that is incomparable in content.”
About Koodankulam, he said that the construction was “on schedule”. “The first unit has already been commissioned and soon we are planning to launch the construction of the second unit,” Modi said.
In an aspect of energy cooperation, Putin said Russian companies Rosneft and Gazprom “together with their Indian counterparts are preparing projects on developing Russia’s Arctic shelf and expanding the supplies of liquefied natural gas”.
In total 20 agreements were signed, which include seven inter-government deals in nuclear power, defence, hydrocarbons and health research.
There were also some new initiatives on the defence front. Modi said that Russia had offered to “fully manufacture” in India one of its most advanced helicopters.
“It includes the possibility of exports from India. It can be used for both military and civilian use. We will follow up on this quickly,” he said. Putin also “responded very positively” to Modi’s proposal to set up manufacturing facilities in India for “spaces and components” for Russian defence equipment in India. “We had a detailed discussion of the practical measures required to diversify our mutual trade and further enhance investment; we agreed to stimulate companies in both countries to activate joint work and to speed up the transition to the use of national currencies in mutual settlements,” he said.
Besides his formal meeting with Modi, Putin also met with President Pranab Mukherjee and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He left for Moscow late night, spending less than 24 hours in Delhi.
How many N-power plants? 20? 12? 10?
There seemed to be some confusion on the actual number of N-plants agreed upon. While Putin spoke of plans for 20 nuclear units and Modi mentioned 10 units, the vision document actually mentions “not less than 12” over a period of 20 years.