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Russia: Nuclear Plant Deal With India Still Unsigned

Moscow, 25 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia and India failed to reach a final agreement today on India's purchase of two Russian nuclear plants.

Russian presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky says that during talks between Russian leaders and visiting Indian prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda an accord on the nuclear stations was not signed. But rather than terming it a delay, Yastrzhembsky said the two sides had agreed to "speed up the signing."

Deve Gowda met President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for talks focusing on trade, especially in the defense sector.

ITAR-TASS says four accords on financial and tax cooperation were signed and weapons sales were discussed.

Yastrzhembsky told reporters the meeting is a sign of the confidence and closeness in relations. He says steps will be taken to expand commercial cooperation, currently worth $2 billion a year. He said India is one of Russia's priority partners for military cooperation.

Talks concerning the $2 billion sale of two reactors in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu began in 1988.

A final decision has been delayed in the past because of India's financial constraints and pressures on Russia to freeze the sale of critical equipment to nations suspected of having a clandestine weapons-oriented nuclear program.

Yeltsin said today he is pleased with the way cooperation between Russia and India is developing successfully.