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Russia To Supply Nuclear Reactors Despite Us Threat

Brushing aside strong opposition from the United States, Russia yesterday agreed in principle to supply two light water nuclear power reactors to India even as the two countries signed seven agreements, including an extradition treaty to combat offences ranging from terrorism to economic crimes.

In another far-reaching development, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda agreed to hold annual bilateral summits and to upgrade their relations to the level of strategic partnership. These decisions were announced at the summit level talks between President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Gowda at Kremlin here.

Briefing newspersons after the one-to-one meeting between the leaders, external affairs minister I K Gujral said a detailed project report for the construction of two nuclear power reactors of 1000 mw each at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu would be prepared.

The decision revives the 1988 agreement signed between India and former USSR during the visit of Mikhail Gorbachev to New Delhi.

Official sources said the project report might take some time but Russia has turned down the US protests saying the construction of the nuclear power plants did not violate the 1992 agreement of nuclear suppliers groups as the accord on power plants was signed in 1988.

Expressing surprise over Washingtons protests, Russia said the issue was purely a bilateral matter between Moscow and New Delhi had maintained that the nuclear plants would conform to the safety guidelines of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the sources said. President Yeltsin agreed to give personal attention to the issue of supply of the nuclear power reactors, Gujral said.

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First Published: Wed, March 26 1997. 00:00 IST