India, Russia deal on Kudankulam reactors unlikely during PM's tour: sources

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Moscow:  The expected agreement between India and Russia for the supply of units III and IV of the Kudankulam nuclear reactor is not being signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's two-day visit to Moscow that began on Sunday.

Official sources travelling with the Prime Minister said all issues except one on the liability clause are yet to be resolved and lawyers on both sides are working on it. "We have cleaned up the text of the agreement and now lawyers on both sides are having a final look at the agreement," the sources added.

"In any case it (agreement) won't be signed during the visit because it is a commercial agreement between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Rosatom. They would like to do it separately," they said.

Russia is opposed to the project coming under the ambit of the Nuclear Civil Liability Law of India and wants it to be covered under the Inter-governmental agreement on the issue.

India has tried to assuage the Russian concerns by making proposals on the liability limiting it to suppliers default in cases of equipment failure in the event of an accident.

On the other aspects of bilateral ties with Russia, sources said India was in the process of reaching agreements on expanding the programme including in hydrocarbons sector and the deals may be signed in this area.

To a question on whether the relationship has undergone a change, sources said India has adopted to changes after the break-up of the Soviet Union and the ties have picked up.

"Russia is now a privileged partner with ties in defence, energy and other areas. We have a politically comprehensive relationship on the right trajectory," they said.

"Strategic congruence" is a term that is now being used to describe the India-Russia relationship.


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