India Seeks Closer Ties With Russia
NEW DELHI -- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday sought greater cooperation from Russia in energy, days after Moscow agreed to sell India uranium the country needs to keep one of its main nuclear power plants going.
Singh said India would also welcome Russia's help in construction of a pipeline that would bring natural gas from Iran to India through Pakistan.
"I am confident that both countries will utilize opportunities to expand our partnership in civil nuclear energy cooperation," Singh said after talks with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.
Singh thanked Fradkov for his government's decision to supply fuel to the Tarapur nuclear facility in western India, which came with objections by the United States. Fradkov, on a two-day trip to New Delhi, earlier defended the sale, saying it was "in the interest of both the countries."
He also said Russia's decision was within "international frameworks," and did not "contradict international commitments" that apply to fuel sales to countries like India, which have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Singh said India planned a substantial increase in the share of nuclear power in its energy mix. Currently, nuclear power accounts for less than 3 percent of India's total energy consumption, and efforts to produce more nuclear power have been constrained by international curbs on sale of nuclear fuel to the country.
Singh said he would press Group of Eight countries to ease the curbs when their leaders met in St. Petersburg in July. The Indian leader has also been invited to attend the G8 summit, which will focus on energy security.
With their economies booming, India and China have been driving the global demand and prices for oil and many industrialized countries fear this could hurt their consumers.