Prime Minister Narendra Modi
arrived here on Wednesday night for an annual summit with President Vladimir Putin, during which the two sides will sign a host of agreements, with all eyes on a deal to build, with Russia’s help the last two units, of India’s largest nuclear power plant.
On his arrival here, Modi
tweeted, “Reached the historic city of St Petersburg. Looking forward to a fruitful visit aimed at cementing India-Russia
With hours to go before the summit, Indian officials told PTI that last-minute talks were taking place to iron out details and the language of the agreement on a line of credit for building Unit 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.
“The agreement remains work in progress,” the source said. The reactors are being built by Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Russia’s Atomstroyexport company, a subsidiary of Rosatom. The two sides are expected to ink 12 agreements in wide-ranging sectors, including science and technology, railways, cultural exchanges and other business areas between private parties also, in addition to a “vision statement” that the two leaders will release.
The nuclear deal, if signed, would be the centrepiece of the summit, the second time in eight months after their last bilateral in Goa in October 2016. If signed, the two units of the plant, with capacity to produce 1,000 Mw of electricity each, will significantly boost the country’s nuclear power generation.
The current nuclear power generation capacity of all 22 nuclear power reactors is 6,780 Mw. In October 2015, a joint statement between Modi
and Putin promised the signing of a General Framework Agreement on the nuclear units by December 2016. After an inter-ministerial group cleared the project, it was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for approval.
But, sources said, the Credit Protocol, or a line of credit that Russia
was to provide, proved to be a hurdle.