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Rogozin Talking Nukes, Trade in India

Rogozin and his wife, Tatyana, posing in front of the Taj Mahal on Sunday. Brijesh Singh

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is in India for a three-day visit to discuss ways to intensify trade, review nuclear liability issues and firm up the agenda for a meeting between the countries' leaders, the Indian Asian News Service reported.

On Monday, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Rogozin co-chaired a session of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation.

Rogozin will also call on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and co-chair the India-Russia Forum on Trade and Investments with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.

Bilateral trade increased to $8.8 billion last year. The two sides are looking to raise that total to $20 billion by 2015.

During the talks, the two sides are expected to discuss issues relating to application of India's civil nuclear liability law to units III and IV of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.

In July, the countries signed a protocol in Moscow for Russia to construct units III and IV. Russia has agreed to extend export credit amounting to $3.4 billion.

Russia contends that the civil nuclear-liability law should not apply to these units because the agreement on them predates the 2010 civil liability law and could be seen as being grandfathered by the original 1988 agreement.

But India has made it clear that its national law is paramount and cannot be subverted. Moreover, New Delhi believes that making an exception for Russia would amount to diluting its civil nuclear law, which would encourage the U.S. and France to seek similar exemptions.

If the liability issues are resolved, a final agreement on units III and IV could be signed during the visit.

Russia has invited India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp. to consider buying a stake in the Magadan 2 field, operated by Rosneft, in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, the deputy energy minister said Sunday, Reuters reported.

India, which imports about 80 percent of its oil, is on the hunt for ways to power its nearly $2 trillion economy, while Russia is keen to tap its vast offshore reserves.

"We have suggested that ONGC look at (investing in) Magadan 2," Russian Deputy Energy Minister Yury Sentyurin told reporters on the sidelines of the Petrotech energy conference.

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