Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pact signed for supply of Russian copters worth Rs 2,400 cr

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Dec. 5 India is to receive 80 MI-17V-5 helicopters from the Russian Federation. An agreement for the supply of the helicopters, which industry expects to be a contract of around Rs 2,400 crore, was signed during the on-going visit of the Russian President, Mr Dmitry A. Medvedev.

The MI-17 helicopter is a multi-utility machine that can perform a variety of functions from transporting VVIPs to being converted into a mobile hospital and can fly in various weather conditions, the company website states.

The two countries also agreed to cooperate in the construction of Russian designed nuclear power plants at new sites within the country apart from assisting in the construction of additional nuclear power units at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu. The Russians are already constructing two 1000 MWe units at the Koodankulam site and talks have been on for at least four additional units at the same site.

The visit could also lead to an Indian citizen taking a spaceflight as the Indian Space Reach Organisation (ISRO) and the Russian Federal Space Agency signed a memorandum of understanding on joint activities in this field.

A memorandum of understanding between the co-chairs of the chief executives councils was signed by the Council Co-Chair, Mr Vladimir Yevtushenkov, and the Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries, Mr Mukesh Ambani. Besides, an agreement was also signed for a joint action programme for cooperation between India and Russia in the tourism for the period 2009-10.

These decisions formed part of 10 agreements that India and Russia signed during the visit. Addressing the meeting, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said that India has directed its officials to “expedite all measures” required to achieve the bilateral trade target of $ 10 billion by 2010.

The two sides also discussed the possibilities of greater cooperation in both up and downstream projects in the hydrocarbon sector. “Our dialogue in this area has intensified considerably,” Dr Singh added. Besides, issues connected with science and technology, culture and terrorism were also discussed at the talks between the Russian President and the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister said that all steps including the activation of existing and new mechanisms such as Inter Governmental Commission, the Joint Task Force, the India-Russia Trade and Investment Forum and CEOs Council will be taken to achieve the $ 10-billion target.

Later speaking to the media, the Russian President said that a “substantial time” was spent in discussing military and technical issues. “We spoke on military and technical issues in great detail. We have identified ways to resolve outstanding issues” Mr Medvedev said.