India, Russia sign 16 agreements, Modi invites Russian trade partnership (Roundup)

Moscow, Dec 24 (IANS) India and Russia on Thursday signed 16 agreements, including in areas of helicopter and nuclear reactor manufacturing, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited business leaders to be a partner of India’s prosperity.

“As I look to the future, I see Russia as a significant partner in India’s economic transformation and in shaping a balanced, multi-polar world,” Modi said while addressing a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin here after the annual summit-level meeting between the two sides.

He also voiced his appreciation for the strong India-Russia partnership in defence, diplomacy and development.

“President Putin and I are moving towards expanding India-Russia economic ties,” he said, while expressing confidence that there would be an increase in trade and investment.

Referring to the 16 agreements signed, he said: “The agreement on manufacture of Kamov 226 helicopter in India is the first project for a major defence platform under ‘Make in India’ mission.”

“The pace of our cooperation in nuclear energy is increasing,” he said.

“We are making progress on 12 Russian nuclear reactors at two sites.”

According to a programme of action agreed between India’s Department of Atomic Energy and the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom), there will be localisation of manufacturing in India of Russian-designed nuclear reactor units.

Modi also said that the world must unite to fight terrorism without distinguishing between terror groups.

“The world must unite and combat terror without distinguishing between terror groups and target countries,” he said, adding both India and Russia “are one in our belief that world must unite against terrorism”.

The prime minister stressed on the necessity for a dialogue for an early political settlement in West Asia.

Among the other agreements signed on Thursday are on railways, solar energy, heavy engineering, hydrocarbons

Following the summit-level talks, Modi and Putin jointly addressed chief executives of Indian and Russian companies.

“I am here to invite our partner in security to become our partner in prosperity also,” Modi said.

“Russia has and will always be a vital & long-term partner, not only in energy and mineral resources, but in cutting edge technologies too,” Modi said, according to tweets posted by external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup.

“The good news is that our trade and business relations are becoming vibrant. A number of Russian and Indian companies are working together,” he said.

According to the prime minister, nature has destined India and Russia to work together.

“From hydrocarbons, our cooperation is moving to the hardest form of carbon – diamonds,” he said.

On his part, President Putin said that high technology, innovation, energy, aircraft building, pharmaceuticals and diamonds are promising areas for India-Russian cooperation.

Around 19 Indian CEOs have travelled with Modi for this meeting. According to sources, around 34 business leaders from various Russian companies participated in the meeting.

Earlier on Thursday, Modi visited Russia’s National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC), also known as EMERCOM, a multi-level coordination centre designed to provide inter-agency coordination and alert people about the threat of emergency situations.

According to an official statement, Modi was given an overview of the actual functioning and real-time monitoring operations of the centre. He was informed in detail about the coordination among various disaster-relief agencies, which is done by this centre.

Before heading for the Kremlin, Modi laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier here.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a war memorial dedicated to the Soviet soldiers killed in World War II and is located by the Kremlin wall in the Alexandrovsky Garden.

Modi also addressed a gathering of Friends of India and met members of the Indian community in Russia.

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