Russian President Medvedev to visit India

Russian President Medvedev to visit India

New Delhi: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is set to arrive in India this week, joining a long line of world leaders visiting the rising Asian power in search of trade and investment.

The two countries are expected to sign a number of agreements, including the general framework for Russia’s building two more nuclear power plants in southern India. Russia is already constructing two nuclear plants at the same location in Tamil Nadu state.

A foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday that talks between Medvedev and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are expected to further strengthen and deepen the decades-old close relations that the two countries share.

Medvedev arrives Tuesday for his two-day visit.

A couple of days ago, the Russian Ambassador to India had said that Moscow was still awaiting a precise explanation on how the civil nuclear liability law will affect bilateral cooperation.

Other countries, including the US and France have also expressed their concerns over the law, passed by Parliament here in monsoon session, regarding the liability clause for suppliers in case of nuclear accident. The law caps the operator’s liability at 1,500 crore.

Russia has built two nuclear plants in Kudankulam and is likely to sign a deal for building another two plants there.

Prakash said both sides are also exploring ways to expand cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector and developing a roadmap for it.

Terming cooperation in civil nuclear field and hydrocarbons as “twin pillars" of the long-term strategic partnership, he said, “India is a large consumer and Russia and large producer of hydrocarbons. Russia is looking for an assured buyer and India needs a stable supplier. So there is natural synergy in this area between us."

Several senior Russian ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, foreign minister Sergei Lavarov, Chairman of Central Election Commission of Russia Vladimir Churov along with a large business group would be the part of Russian President’s delegation.

Enhancing economic relations will be another important aspect of the visit as both sides feel that business ties were yet to achieve their potential. Both the countries have set a trade target of $20 billion in next five years.

Prakash said the two countries will also discuss investment opportunities during the India Russia Trade and Investment meet being held on Monday.

He said a large number of private agreements in sectors such as pharmaceutical were also likely to be signed during the visit.