India and Russia eye nuclear, helicopter deals before Modi's Moscow visit

Updated: 2015-12-24 10:16


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India and Russia eye nuclear, helicopter deals before Modi's Moscow visit

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) reviews the guards of honor of Russia on the Vnukovo airport in Moscow, Russia, on Dec 23, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

NEW DELHI - India's prime minister is expected to promote deals for Russian nuclear reactors and military helicopters worth billions of dollars on a trip to Moscow next week, attracted by promises to transfer technology that Western nations have been slow to make.

Russia and India will manufacture 200 Kamov-226T helicopters in a joint venture, a Russian and an Indian government official said, in the first big step for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign to build a domestic industrial base and reduce the military's dependence on expensive imports.

Modi, who heads for Moscow on Dec 23, will also offer Russia a site in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh to build six nuclear reactors of 1,200 megawatts (MW) each, the same sources added.

That is in addition to the six Russia is constructing in neighbouring Tamil Nadu state, said the officials.

New Delhi has turned to Russia as US firm General Electric and Westinghouse, a US-based unit of Japan's Toshiba, are still weighing an entry into India's nuclear energy sector because of a law that makes reactor suppliers liable in case of an accident.

Modi's "Make-in-India" push for a military that has been the world's biggest importer for the last four years has also made little headway, with negotiations stalled over issues including technology transfer and the local assembly of equipment.

For Russia, India offers an alternative, fast-growing outlet for its exports as sanctions imposed by the West squeeze the economy.

"While others are making promises, Russia is moving forward with the Make-in-India program," the Russian government source said.

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