Russia on Monday said it would prioritise the manufacturing of the nuclear reactors ordered by India despite a full order book position, and said the granting of reprocessing rights was not a problem.

Speaking to mediapersons days after India and Russia signed a wide-ranging civil nuclear agreement, Russian ambassador Alexander Kadakin said the return of "familiar freshness" in bilateral ties was largely due to the nuclear agreement.

Russia could build up to six more reactors at Kudankulam (where two are already coming up) and at least 10 more units at the newly allocated site in Haripur, West Bengal. In addition, it wanted India to make a quick decision on allocating a third site where Russia could put up more reactors.

"The costs would be lower because of India's readiness to build the reactors in a series instead of one after the other. We have full orders but India's requirement would be met on a priority basis," said Mr. Kadakin, who is on his second stint as ambassador here.

'G-8 not a problem'

On reprocessing, he felt Russia was in a better position than other countries like the United States because its domestic laws were not as stringent. Mr. Kadakin also did not foresee any problem in providing India with enrichment and reprocessing technology despite a G-8 resolution prohibiting its transfer to countries that had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"We shall act according to all international obligations, but that does not prevent us from guaranteeing the full nuclear cycle to India. It [the G-8 resolution] will not impede the implementation of the big nuclear agreement," he said of the pact, which analysts say should be termed "456" as it is a major improvement over the 123 agreement signed with the U.S.

Mr. Kadakin singled out the agreement to extend military technical cooperation by another decade as indicative of the mutual between the two countries, despite India's desire to look at other destinations for sourcing military hardware.

Russia, however, did not mind India scouting for arms from elsewhere. Diversification is "natural" because India's requirement for weaponry is growing, he said.

Unresolved issues

Mr. Kadakin acknowledged the one irritant in ties - the supply of spares for equipment sold by Russia.

"When I came back after five years, I found nothing had changed in this respect. The new agreement on post supply servicing of equipment carries some obligations by the Russians. The situation will improve but there are some objective problems," he said. The unresolved issues are the difficulty in sourcing spares from now-independent countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, and the stoppage of production of some platforms like the MiG-21. Talks are on for setting up a spares facility for MiG-21 fighters, Mr. Kadakin added.

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