Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will embark on a crucial trip to Russia and China from October 20 during which a number of pacts are expected to be inked in key areas of trade, business and energy.
The first leg from October 20 to 22 in Russia will see the Prime Minister holding talks on important issues such as nuclear cooperation, trade and defence. Singh will on October 22 travel from Moscow to Beijing where he is expected to articulate India's concerns over trans-border rivers, trade deficit and boundary incidents.
During the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Singh is expected to assure him on concerns over India's nuclear liability law and also on the safety of Russian investments including in telecom sector. Significantly, after the recently-concluded India Russia Inter Governmental Commission meeting in Moscow, the indications are that the two countries have made progress to clear the nuclear liability issue, crucial for a contract for supply of Russian reactors for Units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).
It is understood that hectic parleys were on to conclude the tehno-commercial negotiations for the Unit 3 and 4 of KNPP) ahead of Singh's visit and officials are hoping to ink it after the talks between the two sides. The effort is to basically match India's Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CNLD) Act, 2010 and the internationally and nationally accepted principles.
Another crucial issue would be Russia's investment in telecom sector with Russian giant Sistema last week expressing unhappiness over telecom regulator TRAI's recommendations on spectrum auction, saying it created "ambiguity" and "policy uncertainty" that would adversely impact its investment plans. Singh is expected to assure Russian leader on this front. Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd, which offers mobile services under the MTS brand, has protested against TRAI recommendations that the spectrum used by CDMA operators should not be auctioned and a part of it be explored for use by GSM services.