Moscow, Oct 5: India has said it is keen to clinch commercial agreements for the Russian reactors for the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam nuclear power in Tamil Nadu and has welcomed Moscow evincing interest in joining the TAPI gas pipeline project.
Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, in an interview to The Voice of Russia, said that India is keen on cooperation with Russia in the area of pharmaceuticals.
Khurshid said India and Russia have the oldest collaboration in the field of civil nuclear energy. He said the first reactor of the Russia-backed Kudankulam plant has gone critical and would “very soon” start producing electricity “and go up all the way to 1,000 megawatts”.
He said the second reactor would go critical in the next six months. “And then, there is the third and the fourth in the series which we’ve been discussing, and we want to move forward now to get into a commercial agreement on the third and the fourth,” Khurshid said.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is setting up two 1,000 MW Russian reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district.
Khurshid was in Moscow to co-chair the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC) on economic, scientific and cultural cooperation ahead of the annual bilateral summit in Moscow later this month. Deputy Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was the other co-chair.
Khurshid said Russia can be a major contributor to the ambitious pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project. “And in many ways Russia can be a major contributor, whether it is in the building of the pipeline or it is in upstream supplement of the gas that will come from Turkmenistan to India, or indeed in any other way.”
He dismissed talk of Pakistan not wanting to join the pipeline project, saying that country stood to gain enormously from it.
Khurshid said there are “some security issues that need to be addressed in Afghanistan and of course we need to have Pakistan on board. But we see no reason why this will not be possible”.
He said all the Russian gas was being exported to Europe and if the TAPI pipeline extended to Russia it would help bring the gas to South Asia.
He said India is keen for cooperation with Russia in the field of pharmaceuticals. “Pharmaceuticals is an area of strength that we want to offer in both ways, in terms of investments in pharmaceuticals in Russia, joint ventures in Russia and, indeed, export of pharmaceuticals which in terms of labour costs and in terms of a total cost of import provide a competitive advantage in the Russian market.”