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Itís all about energy


 If there is a swagger in Vladimir Putin it has nothing to do with his six-pack, though going by photographs he could put Sharukh in OSO to shame. The swagger is due to his country's bulging oil profits and India with huge energy hunger has come abegging. Manmohan Singh knows that subsidies have to roll back and triple digit figures per barrel have India like China clawing at Russia's door. With the 123 agreement in the dock, India has to look simultaneously for other options. Russia is where it has always sought. Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu is the buzzword with the Indian delegation accompanying the Prime Minister. Two or four reactors, whatever is achievable will be worked at. India and the then Soviet Union signed an agreement in 1988 on building 2000 MW power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, two are built and Moscow is offering to build four more. To build them India needs special approval from the 45 nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) because it has not signed the NPT
India has yet to negotiate a safeguards agreement with the IAEA but the National Security Advisor said that "Russia has gone out of its way" to cooperate with India "whether it be fuel for Tarapore" or more. He added, "We want to open nuclear commerce and we are hoping for Russian cooperation". In good measure he added " we have taken Russia for granted' in the past.

Putin will probably push for India's case at the NSG but there will certainly be a quid pro quo. Putin is not one for sentimentality. He is avidly viewing India's spending power for arms. India is expected to spend 10billion$ in the next five years. Sukhois, Migs, Gorshkov and its ancillaries. And then there is the 10$ dollar trade target that India and Russia hope to achieve by 2010. This is big-ticket business here. And Putin may be in the last leg of his presidency but his legacy is intact. The joke is that PUTIN stands for Planes, Uranium, Tanks Infrastructure and Nuclear Energy. And it naturally follows what does Bush stand for.... even Bush doesn't know...perhaps.

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I am the Editor News, at Asian News International (ANI), Indiaís leading Multimedia News Agency and the India Correspondent for Channel News Asia, a Singapore based broadcaster.
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