India and Russia will review safety issues with regard to their ongoing nuclear cooperation programme in the light of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan.
If necessary, additional features would be incorporated in the two Russian-origin nuclear plants under construction at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu and the next two that would shortly come up at the same site, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told newspersons here on Wednesday after a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
However, Mr. Menon noted, there would be no rethink on the ongoing construction programme as well as the road map for future cooperation agreed upon by both sides. It would also not affect the pact to undertake joint research and development in reactor technology and related fields.
He said: “One issue that was a response to the recent events in Japan was a discussion on nuclear safety because we have a very active programme of cooperation between India and Russia on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
“They both discussed the need for international efforts to re-examine nuclear safety, standards and to see what can be done internationally quite apart from internal procedures which both of us have put into place, internal review which both have put into place as a result of what happened in Fukushima.
“Both sides have committed [themselves] to carry that relationship forward and both are convinced that nuclear energy, if the safety and security can be assured, has no real economic and environmentally sound alternative. It was agreed upon that we will go through this process together; we will work together on examining this.” India also flagged its interest in the Russian strategic reserves of hydrocarbons being opened up for commercial exploitation. “We signed an inter-governmental agreement in December last when President Medvedev came to India. We talked about how that is being carried forward. Overall, there was satisfaction at the way in which the bilateral relationship is not only growing and all the strategic cooperation that we are undertaking, but also at the way it is being deepened and extending into new fields,” Mr. Menon said.
The two leaders also reviewed their bilateral relationship, which the Prime Minister described as “unique” in terms of quality and depth.
Both expressed satisfaction at the development in the relationship in recent years, particularly Mr. Medvedev's visit, when both sides took several decisions for the relationship, all of which were in the process of being implemented.
“There was a discussion also on the situation in West Asia and North Africa, and the effects that will have not only on the international system but also on energy security and on how it will affect the future. The discussion is likely to continue tomorrow [on Thursday] when the leaders of BRICS are together because it affects us all,” said Mr. Menon.