India and Russia Ink Agreements for Kudankulam Nuclear Plant Growth


India and Russia have strengthened their longstanding partnership with the signing of significant agreements pertaining to the development of upcoming power-generating units at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, currently on a five-day visit to Russia, disclosed this after a "comprehensive and productive" meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov. The agreements, covering nuclear power and various sectors such as medicines, pharmaceutical substances, and medical devices, were formalized during their discussions on bilateral economic cooperation.

"Today, in my presence and that of Deputy Prime Minister Manturov, we signed some very important agreements pertaining to the future units of the Kudankulam nuclear project," he said addressing the Indian diaspora here. India's largest nuclear power plant, Kudankulam, is under construction in Tamil Nadu with technical support from Russia. The project, initiated in March 2002, has seen the first power unit successfully operating at its designated capacity of 1,000 MW since February 2016. According to Russian media reports, the plant is anticipated to reach its full operational capacity in 2027.

During the meeting, Mr. Jaishankar noted the significant progress in trade, finance, connectivity, energy, civil aviation and nuclear domains. "Appreciated the greater focus on exploring new opportunities. Discussed making our cooperation more balanced and sustainable in different dimensions", he said in a post on X.

During his address to the Indian community, Mr. Jaishankar characterized Russia as a "special partner" particularly in defense, nuclear power, and space. He further announced that both sides have reached an agreement for their negotiating teams to convene for in-person discussions on the free trade agreement between India and the Eurasian Economic Zone by the end of January. "Today, when I met the Deputy Prime Minister we agreed that early next year, our negotiating teams will meet. So I expect by the end of January, hopefully, that the in-person negotiations will start", he said, responding to questions at the community event.

"Finalised the programme of cooperation on Russian Far East. Expect to hold early meeting of EaEU-India FTA negotiators. Will jointly organise connectivity events across land and maritime corridors", he later posted on X. "If one looks at our economy, influence, and impact on the world today, it is very different from 10 years ago and will be different 10 years later. We went on from the 10th largest economy a decade ago, to be the 5th largest now and will hopefully be the 3rd largest and beyond that, later", Mr. Jaishankar said.

The Indian Foreign Minister will meet his counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to discuss bilateral, multilateral, and international issues. "I'm very sure that this relationship will only grow from strength to strength. And I think even in the last few years, I see, frankly, for example, a greater Russian focus on Asia. I think that is partly one reason why our trade has grown so much in the last two years", he added.

He appreciated the Indian community's contribution to building a strong and steady collaboration between India and Russia. "The Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership reflects experiences and sentiments of last 75 years. Urged the community to contribute to deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation. Their role in promoting close ties between our civil societies is invaluable. An Atmanirbhar Bharat will deepen ties with Russia in a multipolar world", he later posted on X.