The prime ministerís Russian winter
- BJP tears into UPA govt on 4th anniversary, says it lacks leadership
- Madras High Court issues notice to BCCI, Sports Minister over IPL spot-fixing
- Jessica Lal murder: Actor Shayan Munshi, ballistic expert Manocha to face perjury trial
- India seeks access from US to 26/11 terror convicts Headley, Rana
- Govt further cuts import tariff value of gold
India-Russia relations have been described as 'time tested', 'historic', 'unique' and 'integral' to the foreign policies of both countries. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his Moscow visit, repeated this language. Yet the media talked of a chill, in spite of government spokespersons insisting that there was warmth and continuity.
So what is the reality? Some answers may be provided in the signals sent out by the Russians during the PM's visit. The immediate issue is of the four new nuclear reactors that Russia has promised to add to Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, for which a memorandum of intent was signed in January 2007. Despite the clearances necessary from the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, the Russians wanted to sign an intergovernmental agreement at par with the 123 agreement to show they were willing to assist India, bypassing discriminatory international regimes. The Indian side, which has used this route before, however cited technical grounds for postponing the Russian deal. Since the Indo-US deal and the consent of the NSG is the new centrepiece of Indian foreign policy, the Indian government preferred to go slow on that initiative.
There can be no doubt that the earlier hype which had traditionally marked India-Russia relations was missing this time. In fact, in Russia it did not evoke the excitement that visits from other leaders, and especifically US leaders, often do. In India, too, the public response was tepid. But there is a reason for this. This is an engagement which has become institutionalised and is today on an even keel. India-Russia deals hardly ever figure in Parliament, for example. Russia has taken up from where the Soviet Union let off. At present it provides almost 70 per cent of the country's military hardware, assists in India's civil nuclear power programmes and even recently provided India the uranium it required for the Tarapur nuclear plant. The two have space and satellite cooperation, energy security, political understanding on Kashmir, the Security Council, West Asia, and other issues.
- Fixing probe now reaches Bollywood, son of Dara Singh held
- BCCI cashes Pune Warriors guarantee, 'disgusted' Sahara walks out of IPL
- Sreesanth spent Rs 1.95L on clothes, bought friend BlackBerry, paid in cash: Police
- Delhi firm with MoD as client is linked to Pak cyberattacks
- After Infosys, iGATE sacks Phaneesh Murthy for sexual misconduct
- 2 weeks after harassment, Haryana schoolgirls return, cops in tow