India in Talks on with France for 2 nuclear reactors

KOCHI: Discussions are on between the Indian and French governments for setting up two nuclear reactors in India, French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont has said.Addressing reporters on board the French landing helicopter dock (LHD) Tonnerre in Kochi on Friday, he said negotiations in this connection are progressing. “There are discussions to construct two latest generation nuclear reactors here.Discussions were held between the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Areva, a French company,” Bonnafont said.Tonnerre, which called at Kochi on Wednesday will leave the port on Saturday.

The visit is as a part of its training of midshipmen in defence drills along with diplomacy and geo-strategic issues.Landing helicopter dock Tonnerre, which belongs to the French Navy, is equipped to carry out a wide-range of missions – amphibious and air support operations, crisis management, command and control, and medical support.On the counter-piracy operations in which the ship was involved, Commanding officer of Tonnerre Captain Philippe Ebanga said it was as a part of their mission that they dealt with Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.On Exercise Garuda to be held next week in France, the officials said the Air Force from three nations – India, France and Singapore – will come together for the exercise this time.

Russia to build up to 16 nuclear reactors in India

Russia will build up to 16 nuclear reactors for power stations in India, Russia’s Deputy Premier said on Friday during a visit to India with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to reaffirm decades-old ties.

Russia is competing with French and American firms for lucrative contracts to build nuclear power plants for energy-hungry India because Asia’s third-largest economy needs to boost its supply to help sustain rapid economic growth.

“The agreement sees construction of up to 16 nuclear reactors in three locations,” Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told reporters.

Putin pledged on Friday to boost banking and technology cooperation with India, seeking to bolster ties with a Cold War ally that has been shifting focus towards the United States.

Russia wants to boost trade with India to USD 20 billion by 2015 from the current USD 8 billion. Together with China and Brazil, Russia and India make up the so-called BRIC group of major emerging economies, whose global influence is rising.

The two nations also seek a greater role in stabilising the region because both share security interests emanating from Islamist militant violence and the war in Afghanistan.

“India is our strategic partner … which is an evidence that our geopolitical interests almost fully coincide,” Putin told a conference with businessmen in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Setting the tone for his one-day visit mainly aimed at keeping one of the world’s biggest arms importers interested in Russian weapons, Putin offered state financial aid for the Indian telecoms unit of Russian conglomerate Sistema.

Sistema, controlled by billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, is looking to deepen its investment in Sistema Shyam TeleServices, a joint venture with India’s Shyam group.

“We are ready to contribute funds for your joint activity,” Putin said in response to a question by a Shyam group official.

Yevtushenkov later said the Russian government would become a shareholder in Shyam.

Putin also vowed to remove hurdles in the banking sector that he said were hampering mutual trade, and signalled that the government was ready to encourage joint ventures and acquisitions in the sector.


India struck a landmark civilian nuclear deal with the United States in 2008, ending the isolation it had experienced since an atomic test in 1974 and giving it access to US technology and fuel, while also opening up the global nuclear market to India.

As India begins to lean more on the United States, Moscow fears losing not only influence over New Delhi but the bulk of its USD 100 billion defence market as well.

Putin’s visit is likely to produce deals worth more than USD 10 billion mainly in defence contracts, nuclear reactors and trade.

Ivanov also said Russia would deliver the refurbished Gorshkov aircraft carrier to India by the end of 2012, an issue which has troubled relations between the two powers.

Russia and India signed a contract worth USD 1.5 billion on Friday for Moscow to supply 29 MiG 29 K fighters, the CEO of Russian plane maker Sukhoi, Mikhail Pogosyan, said.

Pogosyan also said he expected a joint venture with the state-run Indian company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to manufacture around 200 fifth-generation fighter jets.

Fifth-generation jets, such as the US F-22 Raptor stealth fighters which first flew in 1997, are invisible to radar and boast “intelligent” on-board flight and arms control systems and supersonic cruising speeds.

Putin sought to assure Indian businessmen that Russian nuclear reactors were safe. Russia has almost completed equipment delivery for two reactors at Kudankulam nuclear power station and is in talks to build two more reactors.

“Our reactors can sustain a crash of a medium-range passenger plane,” Putin said, seeking to demonstrate that Russian plants could withstand even September 11, 2001-style attacks.

The two countries also agreed to strengthen cooperation in hydrocarbons through greater collaboration between oil and gas companies, but did not announce any firm energy deals.

India is also likely to import DAP fertilisers from Russia. The importer is likely to be Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IIFCO).


Plan for nuclear fuel plant in India

India and Russia are considering the setting up of a joint venture to produce nuclear fuel in India, Russia’s nuclear chief said.

“A project to build a factory in India for the production of nuclear fuel is under consideration,” Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko said in the wake of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to India.

The possibility of setting up a nuclear fuel facility in India is envisaged in the Inter-Government Agreement on Cooperation in the use of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purpose, signed on Friday in New Delhi. The accord is also understood to provide for the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel in India under international safeguards.

Diplomatic sources in Moscow said the Indo-Russian nuclear agreement was “to India’s full satisfaction” in contrast to the 123 agreement with the United States. Russian officials earlier said the agreement did not contain any restrictions on the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology.

India may also take up the Russia offer to participate in an international nuclear fuel enrichment centre at Angarsk, Siberia, RIA Novosti reported quoting Indian Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee. Even as he described the Russia proposal as an “attractive” option, Mr. Banerjee said it called for a detailed technical and commercial evaluation.

India Russia Strategic Partnership Enters New Stage

India and Russia value their regular annual summits as the principal vehicle to advance their strategic partnership in different directions. The agenda of regular Indo-Russian summits always cover bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern. The just concluded Indo-Russian summit at Moscow in this regard was no exception, and has no doubt pushed our strategic partnership to a new stage and provided a qualitatively new content to our time-tested relationship.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow, coming on the heels of his visit to Washington, tempts one to compare the two summits, though each relationship perhaps stands on its own. At least our government wants us to believe that. The Washington summit was rich in gesture, rhetoric but almost hollow in substance in contrast to the Moscow summit that was rich both in gesture and content. Our expectations from the Washington summit were belied in contrast to the significant outcome of the Moscow summit that elevated the Indo-Russian strategic partnership to a new peak, prompting commentators to describe the Moscow summit as a path-breaking one.

Out of the total of six documents signed as a result of the summit, two agreements in the area of civil nuclear and defence cooperation need special mention, and in many ways these chart a new course

The breakthrough long-term agreement on bilateral nuclear cooperation that seeks to expand our relations in this vital area in an unprecedented manner is devoid of any conditionality on India and provides guarantees against any curb in future. The agreement, hailed as a ‘major step forward in strengthening our existing cooperation in this field’ by the Indian Prime Minister, stipulates setting up more nuclear reactors in India, transferring a whole range of nuclear technologies and ensuring uninterrupted fuel supply indefinitely. The document paves the way for Indian access to Russian enrichment and refuelling technology and equipment, and clears the deck for greater cooperation in joint research, development and design for next generation reactors, taking our cooperation in this sensitive sphere to a qualitatively higher level.

The agreement gives reprocessing rights to India. Another advantage in the deal with Russia is that Russian reactors would be built under an advanced flow-line technology that reduces construction time and expenditure by 25-30 per cent.

The nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia is essentially different from 123 pact signed with the US that envisages not only ending of the ongoing nuclear cooperation but also the return of equipment and fuel supplied by the US, in case the nuclear agreement is terminated. While the 123 pact with the US is designed to keep India under US tentacles for ever, the agreement with Russia reflects mutual trust, goodwill, and the strategic nature of our time-tested relations. There is a vast difference between the agreement signed with the US in the sphere of nuclear cooperation and the one with Russia in the same field. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made it amply clear that Moscow will not accept any restriction imposed by any foreign country on its civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi under any pressure. Replying to a pointed question if Russia would continue unrestricted nuclear cooperation with India despite the G-8 resolution restricting the sale of reprocessing technologies to non-NPT countries, President Medvedev stressed that the ‘resolution does not change anything in our cooperation’. Under the agreement, Russia is expected to build 12-14 reactors in India’s east coast.

Though the US facilitated the clean waiver for India at the NSG, it is trying to impose restrictions on nuclear trade with India through the G-8. Moscow, which signed the historic document risking a lot of possible rebuke and criticism at the G-8, NSG and IAEA, once again demonstrated that it is our genuine strategic partner, and a true and trusted friend forever.

The agreement helps India establish itself as a buyer’s market. We have inked agreements with France and Canada for nuclear cooperation. The agreement with Moscow would push the companies in France, Canada and the US to lobby their governments for ensuring smooth nuclear trade with India. This would be only to the advantage of India. However, Russia should be treated as our preferred partner in the area in the coming years.

The second document that draws attention is the framework agreement for augmentation of our vital defence cooperation, an important component of our strategic partnership, in the next decade covering the period up to 2020. The significance of the document lies in the fact that it would provide the basis and thrust to joint research, development and manufacturing in our defence cooperation—imparting a new dimension to our defence relations. Joint development and manufacturing of fifth generation aircraft, multi-role transport aircraft, hypersonic missile–a developed version of the supersonic BrahMos—are some of the big-ticket projects slated to be implemented under the pact. The agreement also looks for smooth post-sale service and maintenance of military hardware acquired by India from Russia—often a vexed issue in our ongoing defence cooperation.

Another key area in which our cooperation is likely to get impetus as a result of the Moscow summit is hydrocarbon. Moscow is destined to play a substantial role in ensuring our energy security. With our cooperation in the nuclear field getting a boost in this direction, hydrocarbon is emerging as another key area of vital cooperation for meeting our energy requirements. India has already invested $ 2.7 billion in the Sakhalin oil and gas project, which is India’s largest investment abroad, and it has purchased Imperial Energy operating in Russia for $ 2.58, which has increased our profile in Russia’s vast energy sector. As a result of the Indian Prime Minister’s talks with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, both countries are poised to have enhanced cooperation in energy with India getting access to the Trebs and Titov oilfields in the Timan Pechora region. India also stands a fairly good chance of entering the huge Sakhalin-3 energy project if foreign participation is permitted by the Russian authorities, and it seems to have received a very positive response from the Russian leadership on this score. The ONGC Videsh Limited has entered into agreements with the Russian oil and gas majors, Rosneft and Gazprom, for studying investment opportunities in this sector in both countries.


The long Joint Statement issued at the end of the Moscow summit throws light on our cooperation on a host of important issues of mutual concern.

As usual, terrorism was at the top of the agenda at the Moscow summit. The joint Statement emphasises that both sides are convinced that the international community should enhance efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and calls for an early adoption of the comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. Both sides have expressed their desire to further develop bilateral cooperation in combating new challenges and threats, including such cooperation within the framework of the Russia-India Working Group on Combating International Terrorism and agreed for greater intelligence sharing.

Obviously, in this context Afghanistan was discussed in detail at the summit. New Delhi and Moscow share similar views on the Afghan issue. Both sides have stressed that resurgence of the Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan threatens the progress made over the last few years. Noting that the fight against terrorism cannot be selective, both sides believe that drawing false distinctions between ‘good’ and ’bad’ Taliban would be counter-productive. India and Russia displayed a strong convergence in refuting the good Talban and bad Taliban formulation, describing it as ‘facile’ and projecting the urgency of mopping up terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. Both countries dismiss the good Taliban theory that is seen as a bid to work out a deal with a section of the terror outfit currently operating in Afghanistan from bases in Pakistan. A section of the US establishment seems to have been tempted to consider this option which has its backers in Pakistan. The good Taliban and bad Taliban theory is essentially a Pakistani trap to reinforce its hold over part of the terror outfits. The denunciation of the good Taliban argument ostensibly indicates a lack of patience with Pakistan’s move to differentiate the Taliban. The Statement in this regard is remarkable for the manner in which it reflects a close synergy in Indo-Russian perspectives that has received a boost as a result of the Moscow summit.

New Delhi and Moscow have had intensive discussions on the Af-Pak situation, and the convergence of their views on the issue has come out during the talks at Moscow. Both sides share concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into ‘wrong hands‘, and this was highlighted at the Moscow summit. Both countries have once again reaffirmed their long-term commitment to a democratic, pluralistic and stable Afghanistan.

The deliberations at Moscow touched China as well, and India explained the complexities of India’s relations with its giant neighbour. It seems both sides have exchanged views on issues related to China’s rise and its implications. In this context, Russia’s support for India’s full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is noteworthy. Russia has been advocating for India’s full membership in the SCO for some time but the very mention of this position for the first time in the Joint Statement is interesting particularly in the backdrop of the known Chinese opposition to this proposal.

India and Russia have welcomed the progress registered by the BRIC dialogue that plays an important role in the development of a multipolar world and formation of just, democratic world order. They believe that the first stand-alone BRIC summit at Yekaterinburg last June has provided it a clear direction for future growth and opened new vistas of cooperation in the coming years.

Welcoming the enhanced interactions in the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral format, New Delhi and Moscow appreciated the exchange of views on regional and global issues, and called for greater exchange of information and ideas on the current important subjects for the benefit of the peoples of the three countries, and for peace and stability in the region. The RIC had its ninth trilateral meeting of Foreign Ministers at Bengaluru last October, and the ninth trilateral Track-II academic meet was held in New Delhi from December 7 to 9, 2009. New Delhi and Moscow believe these Track-I and Track-II trilateral meetings help in improving understanding and strengthening peace and stability in the region.

Russia and India need each other much more than at any time after the Soviet break-up, particularly in the emerging multipolar world threatened to be dominated by G-2—Chimerica. The latest Moscow summit is no doubt a landmark event that has pushed our time-tested friendship and cooperation to a qualitatively new plateau and brought the two strategic partners closer.

Dr Arun Mohanty is an Associate Professor, Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is also the Director, Eurasian Foundation.

Source –

GOI approves Kumharia site for setting up nuclear power project in Haryana

Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda disclosed that the Government of India has accorded in-principle approval to the Kumharia site in district Fatehabad for setting up of a nuclear power project in Haryana.

The Chief Minister, who was addressing a press conference here on Monday said that  a communication to this effect has been received from the Chairman and Managing Director of Nuclear Power Corporation in India.

He said that the State Government has also been informed that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India now wanted to move to the next stage for acquisition of land and pre-project activities.

As the State Government has also been urged to identify a nodal agency with whom the Nuclear Power Corporation of India can engage for further activities, the Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited would be the nodal agency for this project on behalf of the State Government.

It may be recalled that the site selection committee of the Department of Atomic Energy had recommended a site in Kumharia for setting up of the Nuclear Power Project.

NPCIL To Setup New Power Plant In Madhya Pradesh

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has decided to set up an atomic station in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh to generate 1,400 MW power.

The setting up of the first nuclear power station in the state assumes significance owing to electricity shortage of over 1,000 MW. Besides, there has also been shortage of coal to run its thermal power stations.

The NPCIL has sent communication to set up an atomic power station to the state government, which in turn has made Madhya Pradesh Power Generating Company Limited (MPPGCL) the nodal agency to facilitate the execution of the project.

“Our company has been made the nodal agency to help NPCIL to set up the atomic power station (700 MW x 2 )at Chutka in Mandla,” MPPGCL Chairman-cum-Managing Director R B Agrawal told PTI today.

India Sings 7th Nuclear Treaty – This Time With Argentina

India and Argentina today signed an agreement in civil nuclear cooperation and nine other pacts with a desire to establish strategic partnership.

The agreements were signed after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Argentine President Cristina Fernando de Kirchner here.

The Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy was signed by Vivek Katju, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs and Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Talana.

Argentina became the seventh country with which India has signed a civil nuclear agreement after the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group lifted a 34-year-old ban on nuclear commerce in September last year.

India has already signed similar pacts with the US, France, Russia, Kazakhstan, Namibia and Mongolia.

India-Canada set to boost trade ties, nuclear commerce

India and Canada are set to boost their economic ties, with the two nation in the final stages of finalising a series of trade-related pacts, including nuclear commerce and moving towards a free-trade agreement.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Mumbai and Delhi between November 15 and 18 and meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sources said, adding that it is intended to be a turning point in the trade relationship between the two nations.

Last week, India’s Commerce Secretary Rahul Kullar met in Ottawa with Trade Minister Stockwell Day and other top officials and signalled that after years of little progress, India was seeking real advances in trade.

A long-awaited deal on investment, an agreement on energy exchanges, and an accord that allows Canada’s nuclear industry to sell to India are expected within about a month, according to a press release issued by the Indian High Commission.

BHEL & NPCIL To Name Third Partner In JV

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., India’s biggest power equipment maker, and Nuclear Power Corp. of India may name an overseas partner by October for a venture to build atomic plants in the country.

“We have zeroed in on a European partner from two with whom we were talking,” Bharat Heavy Chairman K. Ravi Kumar said in a telephone interview in New Delhi today, without naming the overseas company. “The partner will be offered about 30 percent equity. We are still negotiating some terms.”

Bharat Heavy agreed in April last year to form a venture with the country’s monopoly nuclear power producer to provide engineering, procurement and construction services. India plans to increase its installed atomic generation capacity 10-fold to 40,000 megawatts by 2020 after a global ban on nuclear trade with Asia’s third-biggest economy was lifted last September.

“Nuclear energy is in a nascent stage in India and such a partnership will help it get a first-mover advantage,” said Shruti Udeshi, an analyst with Finquest Securities Ltd. who has an “outperform” rating on Bharat Heavy. “For the stock, it would be just a broad trigger.”

Bharat Heavy gained 0.6 to 2,224.60 rupees in Mumbai trading. The shares have gained 63 percent this year, compared with a 66 percent increase in the benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index.

Initial Talks

Bharat Heavy had initially begun discussions for a partnership with Alstom SA, Siemens AG, Skoda Power, a part of Skoda Holdings AS, and Russia’s OAO Power Machines before shortlisting two of them, Kumar said. The partner will be “one of them,” he said.

Phone calls to Rachana Panda, country communications director for Alstom India, were unanswered, while Shirley Burla, a spokeswoman for Siemens India, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed query seeking comment. Ranjit Nair, who heads the Skoda Power sales team in India, couldn’t immediately be reached at his office in Noida near New Delhi.

Bharat Heavy and Nuclear Power hold 50 percent each in the planned venture and will sell equal stakes to the overseas partner, Kumar said. The venture is yet to be named, according to Rohit Singh, a spokesman for Bharat Heavy.

S.K. Jain, chairman of state-owned Nuclear Power, couldn’t be immediately reached on his mobile phone and calls to the Mumbai office of N. Nagaich, a spokesman, were unanswered.

Nuclear plants planned by India can generate more than $10 billion of orders for Indian companies such as Bharat Heavy and Larsen & Toubro Ltd. by 2012, UBS AG estimated in July last year.

Nuclear Power said in March it will borrow 3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) in overseas debt to fund a project to be built in partnership with Areva SA, the world’s biggest maker of atomic reactors. The project at Jaitapur in western India will be the country’s first large-capacity plant using overseas equipment after the nuclear-trade ban was lifted last year.


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