Asserting that the development of the nuclear energy programme has been a key pillar of the strategic partnership between New Delhi and Moscow, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday said India deeply appreciates the support extended by Russian engineers and scientists in the construction of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project.
"Construction of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is now complete, and power generation will commence shortly. India appreciates deeply the support extended by Russian engineers and scientists in this project. We look forward to the completion of Unit 2 next year," said Dr. Singh in his address to the media at the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit here.
"Negotiations for the construction of Units 3 and 4 at Kudankulam have made good progress. We intend to continue implementing the roadmap for cooperation in the nuclear energy sector that was signed during President Vladimir Putin's visit in 2010 as the then Prime Minister of Russia," he said.
Our energy cooperation also extends to the oil and natural gas sectors. I conveyed to President Putin India's interest in deepening cooperation in this area, including through mutual investments and joint projects in third countries," he added.
Emphasing that Russia is a key partner to modernize our armed forces and enhance our defence preparedness, Dr. Singh said: "A number of joint design, development and production projects are underway in high technology areas. We expressed satisfaction that these projects are progressing well."
"Our science and technology cooperation remains robust. President Putin and I welcomed the operationalization of the India-Russia Joint Science and Technology Centres in India and Russia, which can assist the development and commercialization of promising technologies, including in nano-technology, bio-medicine and super-computing. I particularly welcome the agreement on cooperation in using the GLONASS satellite navigation system that has just been signed," he added.
Congratulating President Putin on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, Dr. Singh said: " Russia's deeper integration into the global economy will present more opportunities for the business communities in both countries."
"Our bilateral trade has grown by over 30 percent this year. There is still untapped potential in areas such as pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, mining, steel, information technology, civil aviation, telecommunications, infrastructure, food processing, innovation and services, which we will work to exploit. We have asked our inter-governmental and business level groups to recommend specific steps for enhancing bilateral trade and investment flows," he added.
Stating that India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism, terrorism and external interference, Dr. Singh said: "We reviewed the ongoing developments in Afghanistan, and agreed to work together against threats posed by extremist ideologies and drug trafficking. We also discussed the situation in West Asia, and agreed to continue consultations."
This year marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Russia. We deeply value Russia's steadfast friendship and support for India, unaffected by global developments. This relationship has a special place in the hearts and minds of Indians and India remains committed to further deepening it," he added. (ANI)