New DelhI: India and Russia on Monday vowed to deepen collaboration in the space sector, including in the human spaceflight programme, and signed an agreement for cooperation in the building as well as operation of launch vehicles.
The pact was signed during the India-Russia summit held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin
A joint statement issued after the summit said the two countries welcomed the enhanced cooperation between the Russian State Space Corporation ‘Roscosmos’ and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) including in the human spaceflight programmes and satellite navigation.
They agreed to study the prospects of the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the development of launch vehicles and the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, including planetary exploration.
The two sides welcomed the active work carried out within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between Roscosmos and ISRO on joint activities in the human spaceflight programme and noted with satisfaction the training of four Indian astronaut candidates from the Yu.A.Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center.
Four Indian astronauts have already undergone generic space flight training in Russia as part of the Gaganyaan programme, India’s first manned space flight mission.
To facilitate further cooperation in Space, the two countries signed an agreement on technology protection due to cooperation in the field of research and use of outer space for peaceful purposes and building and operation of launch vehicles and ground-based space infrastructure.
Both sides intend to strengthen cooperation within the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS), including the issues of the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, the statement said.
It said the two sides noted the significant progress achieved in the construction of the remaining nuclear power plant units at Kudankulam.
Both sides noted the importance of continued further discussion on the second site in India and the Indian side will strive to finalise formal allotment of the second site in accordance with earlier signed agreements, the statement said.
They welcomed the continuation of technical discussions on the VVER 1200 of the Russian design, joint manufacturing of equipment and localisation of components.
The two countries also noted successful cooperation in the setting up of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh and expressed their readiness to explore similar cooperation in third countries as well.
The leaders during the summit reaffirmed that bilateral energy cooperation is a key pillar of ties and an energy bridge between the two countries.
Both sides reiterated their joint efforts under the Roadmap for Cooperation in Hydrocarbons for 2019-24 to further deepen bilateral cooperation in the energy sector and welcomed the opening of Bharat Energy Center in Moscow, representing five Indian oil and gas public sector companies, to enhance engagement with Russian stakeholders in the energy sector.
They noted with satisfaction, the fruitful, wide-ranging collaboration between the oil and gas companies of the two countries, including between JSC Rosneft Oil Company and Oil and Gas Public Sector Undertakings of India in implementing the Vankorneft, Sakhalin-1 and Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha projects in Russia, and Nayara Energy Limited’s oil refinery in India.
The two sides also welcomed prospective two-way investment initiatives of both countries, which are currently under discussion.
India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment for increasing sourcing of Russian crude oil on long-term contracts through preferential pricing, strengthening LNG imports to India, and the possible utilisation of the Northern Sea Route for energy supplies.
The two sides further agreed for the expansion of cooperation in the gas sector and welcomed the creation of a Gas Task Force to identify mutually beneficial areas including the development of investment in gas infrastructure and distribution projects, use of natural gas in transport and emerging fuels including hydrogen.
Both sides, appreciating the strength of the Indian petrochemical market, agreed to expand collaboration through Russian participation by way of investment, technological and other ways of collaboration in the Indian petrochemical sector.
They welcomed the interest of Nayara Energy in the production of products like polypropylene in India, the statement said.
The two countries also agreed to consider prospects for expanding cooperation in hydro and thermal power, energy efficiency and the sector of renewable energy.
They also noted the need for cooperation in hydrogen economy, low-emission development, including exchange of best practices.
The Indian side emphasised the need for responsible and reasonable pricing of global energy supplies determined by market forces, the statement said.
Both sides noted the importance of dialogue between consumers and producers for stabilizing energy prices, it said.
The day began with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu under the framework of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC).
Separately, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Then the foreign and defence ministers of the two sides held the ‘2+2’ dialogue.
Lavrov and Shoygu arrived here late Sunday night.