India, Russia ink pact to build more nuclear power plants

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India, Russia ink pact to build more nuclear power plants

Moscow: India and Russia have signed an agreement to build more nuclear power units in the country, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar announced in Moscow on the second day of his Russia visit on Tuesday.

The project was signed during the meeting between Jaishankar and Russian trade minister Denis Mansurov and will take many months to finalise. But the announcement of more contracts to Russia comes even as the proposal to allow the US to build similar plants has made scant progress despite US President Joe Biden making a renewed push in the last two summits with PM Narendra Modi.

India is already operating two Russia-built nuclear plants while another four are under construction in Kudankulam.

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Jaishankar will hold an equally crucial meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday during which the two Ministers will discuss building transport, banking and financial chains at negotiations, said a Russian Foreign Ministry statement.

“The main emphasis will be on promoting the further building of sustainable transport, logistics and banking and financial chains, and expanding the use of national currencies in mutual settlements,” the Ministry said. India has been unable to send Russia over $ 30 billion due to US sanctions and both countries are now looking at the option of investing the money in the country itself.

They are also likely to touch upon the G7’s decision to tighten restrictions on diamond imports from Russia could have a painful impact on the Indian diamond-cutting industry concentrated in Gujarat.

Jaishankar’s visit is of additional importance since there will be no Modi-Putin annual summit thjjis year for the second successive time. Also, India was recently stood up by Washington after Biden declined PM Modi’s invitation to hold a Quad summit in India next month as well be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

During an address in Moscow late on Monday, Jaishankar said India and Russia are major powers and this relationship will get stronger. “We may not always agree, we have taken care not to cause a problem for the other country. We continue to show sensitivity. Geopolitics and strategic convergence will always keep India-Russia ties on a positive trajectory,’’ he observed.

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