India’s plans to wrap up a quick nuclear deal with Russia on the setting up of two new units at Kudankulam have received a jolt with a commercial agreement on it unlikely to be signed here tomorrow during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s talks with President Vladimir Putin as legal hitches appear to have cropped up over the liability law.
The prime minister arrived here today to a red carpet welcome on a bright and cold afternoon for his fifth annual summit and was received by Russian Vice Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and later given a ceremonial guard of honour.
Significantly, neither in his departure statement in Delhi nor in his arrival remarks here, the prime minister referred to the much-talked about nuclear deal with Russia for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).
Top government sources said lawyers of both the sides have to clear the text of the agreement on the Units 3 and 4 reactors in the Russian-aided project in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu before it can be approved.
Singh told the media on his arrival here that India and Russia share a privileged, special partnership and this is why the 14th Summit is taking place.
“We are going to review our partnership and its progress in diverse fields such as atomic energy, defence cooperation, space cooperation, science and technology, trade and investment and also review the international and regional development and how they impact on our two countries and how we can work together to keep the world safe for peace and prosperity,” the Prime Minister said.
At the summit, India and Russia are to sign five agreements tomorrow including one on Transfer of Sentenced Persons that will facilitate the process of social rehabilitation of sentenced persons of the other country by providing the opportunity to serve their sentences in their country under certain conditions.
On the nuclear deal, government sources said: “we are close (to an agreement). Most of the issues have been settled except one which is now with the lawyers of both the sides. They have to clear the finalised text.”
“In any case”, the sources said, “it (agreement) won’t be signed during the visit because it is a commercial agreement between NPCIL and Rosatom. They would like to do it separately,” the sources said.