New Delhi, Sept. 17: Final touches are being given to a nuclear pact with Russia, which is likely to be inked during the two-day visit of Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to New Delhi beginning October 20.
The move to put the deal with Russia, and another one with France, on fast track is likely to put pressure on American lawmakers as the US Congress is expected to vote on the 123 Agreement with India this month.
The Russian deal for building four additional nuclear reactors at Kundankulam in Tamil Nadu was ready for signing during Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs visit to Russia in November 2007. But it was put off as India wanted to clinch the safeguards agreement with the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver before signing the pact.
A memorandum of intent for the four reactors was signed in January 2007 when Russian President Vladimir Putin came to New Delhi. He and Singh had made a joined statement announcing the agreement.
Two of the nuclear power reactors being built by the Russian Atomstroyexport is nearing completion.
In 1988, India and the then Soviet Union had signed an agreement to build a 2,000MW power plant at Kundankulam. A delegation led by Russian minister for atomic energy Ivan Kamenskih visited Kundankulam in June this year.
The US had earlier this month set aside an agreement with Russia for civilian nuclear cooperation to express the Bush administrations displeasure with Russian military actions in Georgia.
However, Russias whole-hearted support for the Indian cause during the crucial negotiations with the NSG for a waiver seems to have given the 2007 deal a push.
France was another country that had backed India with gusto. Prime Minister Singh is expected to sign a nuclear deal with the country when he visits Paris on September 29-30.