India to Push for Early Deals in Nuclear Energy

From Times of India

India is expected to push for early closure of agreements on nuclear energy, fertilisers, banking and textiles sectors at the inter-governmental commission meeting with Russia here tomorrow.

Early agreements on these issues could pave way for key announcements in December when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would travel to Moscow for his annual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

External affairs minister Salman Khurshid will co-chair the inter-session meeting of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC) with Russian deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Khurshid is also expected to push for a stake for India in the Sakhalin-III oilfields and also make a case for ONGC Videsh Limited for exploring and developing oilfields in Siberia.

Last month, the Cabinet Committee on Security had granted financial clearance for Kudankulam 3&4 at a cost of Rs 20 crore per MW. The Kudankulam 3&4 nuclear power units are of 1,000 MW each and the project cost is estimated at Rs 40,000 crore.

However, officials said that Russia feels that the offer was too less considering the liability costs under Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Law.

“Kudankulam 1&2 has been placed in a certain framework based on a timeline during which we have moved forward and will that remain the same for 3&4 or you have to organise it in a different format. Those are the discussions taking place,” Khurshid said.

“But, I dont think in those discussions there is anything there which can be an impediment but there are certain things that you need to converge on so that finally you come to a mutually accepted format,” he said.

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