Sandeep Dikshit

Trinamool Congress against land acquisition for the project

Minor irritants in India-Russia ties are being resolved through talks

NEW DELHI: Russia has expressed its readiness to build nuclear reactors at Haripur in West Bengal, but in a veiled reference to the opposition to the project by Union Minister Mamata Banerjee, asked India to take into account the “local political situation.”

While Russia is building two reactors at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu and tying up the loose ends to put up at least four more units of 1,000 MW each at the same site, space limitation has stopped the Central government from allocating land for another nuclear park in West Bengal.

Though no land acquisition issues had surfaced in a big way at the sites allocated to U.S. and French companies, the Trinamool Congress is against the move to acquire land for nuclear reactors powered by Russian technology and has resolved to launch an agitation in case the Centre begins the process. The Russian position, which was not precisely spelt out earlier, was articulated by visiting Russian National Security Advisor Nikolai Patroshev when he met his Indian counterpart Shiv Shankar Menon here on Monday. Mr. Patroshev’s other engagement was a visit to the headquarters of Brahmos, an Indo-Russian joint venture for making supersonic missiles.

Both nations expressed their desire to “coordinate” each other’s positions before multilateral meetings and underscored the fact that both had no unresolved acute issues bedevilling their ties. Minor irritants were being resolved through talks.

Mr. Menon and Mr. Patroshev also discussed joint collaboration in the space and satellite sectors besides military technical collaboration.

The meeting saw both sides widening the ambit of their discussions to cover Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, and took stock of threats emanating from them.