Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009

India in nuclear deal with Russia

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) speaks at a press conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 7, 2009.
Mr Singh (left) called the deal 'a major step forward'

Russia and India have signed an agreement to increase their civilian nuclear energy co-operation.

The announcement came after talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow.

Russia will build a number of nuclear reactors in energy-hungry India as well as increase atomic fuel exports to it.

Russian reports suggested progress had also been made on India's purchase of a refurbished former aircraft carrier.

The sale of the Soviet-era Admiral Gorshkov was agreed years ago but delivery has been long delayed.

Kremlin sources gave no timing for when the vessel might be handed over to India's military.

'Great potential'

Mr Singh called the nuclear deal "a major step forward".

"Today we have signed an agreement which broadens the reach of our co-operation beyond the supply of nuclear reactors to areas of research and development and a whole range of areas of nuclear energy," Mr Singh told a Kremlin news conference.

Mr Medvedev spoke of "great potential" in the two countries' relations.

The head of Russia's state nuclear agency Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, estimated the value of the deal at "several dozens of billion of dollars".

He said the agreement could involve Russia building more than 12 nuclear reactors in India. Mr Singh put the number at four.

Russia is among a number of countries seeking to expand their activities in India following its landmark nuclear deal with the US in 2005.

That accord ended India's nuclear isolation after it tested an atom bomb in 1974.

Mr Singh was due to meet Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin later on Monday.

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