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A US couple in India poses for a photograph with characterisations of Uncle Sam (left) and the Statue of Liberty (right) after casting their absentee ballots for the 2012 presidential election at the US Consulate in Mumbai yesterday. The vote will be held in the United States on November 6.
New Delhi: Setting the agenda for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit, India and Russia yesterday decided to invigorate their economic ties and agreed to factor in liability concerns in the final deal for units III and IV of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP).
Russia, however, called for creating a stable investment climate and voiced unhappiness over New Delhi’s stand on investment by Russia’s Sistema, saying one should not change the rules of the game mid-way.
“We discussed the preparatory work for units III and IV. A techno-commercial agreement is being negotiated,” External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters after talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister
“I have no doubt that we will arrive at a mutually satisfactory result. We see a growing role for Russia in the development of nuclear plants in India,” he said, to a question on the progress on KNPP’s units III and IV, embroiled in differences over perceptions over India’s civil nuclear liability.
The talks between Krishna and Rogozin helped set the agenda for Putin’s October 31 to
November 1 visit to India, and indicated a way forward on KNPP’s units III and IV.
Rogozin had said here on Sunday that if there are issues requiring additional assurance, then it will require additional money, indicating that the price of these reactors may have to be renegotiated.
The KMPP’s unit I is ready to be launched and unit II will be operationalised during the next year, he said, while describing KNPP to be “the safest power plant in the world.”
In July, the nuclear officials of both countries had signed a protocol in Moscow for units III
Russia, which has agreed to extend export credit amounting to $3.4bn, has contended that the Indian nuclear liability law should not apply to these units as the agreement on them predates the 2010 law, and could be seen as “grandfathered” by the original 1988 agreement.
India has indicated that it is ready for price escalation, but it will not compromise its civil nuclear liability regime.
While both sides agreed to step up trade and investment, Russia asked India to create a stable investment climate.
“We should never reconsider the rules of the game once the game has begun. And we should hold the rules till the game is over,” Rogozin said.
Terming it very important to fulfil the agreements, he stressed that if there are scandals, they will scare the business community.
Although Rogozin did not name the Russian telecom giant Sistema’s $3.1bn investment in a joint venture in India, the reference was obvious as Russia is understood to be extremely unhappy with what it sees as New Delhi’s flip-flop over the issue.
Sistema’s $3.1bn investment in Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL) suffered a blow with the Supreme Court in February cancelling all 122 licences (including that of SSTL which operates the MTS brand of mobile services in India) on allegations of bribery and corruption in the allocation of 2G spectrum. Sistema Shyam has filed a petition before the Supreme Court, asking it to set aside the verdict cancelling its licences. IANS