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India joins with Russia to counter China in South Asia

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India and Russia have decided to work together in the field of nuclear commerce. The two countries will help set up smaller nuclear power plants in South Asian countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, sources said. This, according to South Block sources, is a key outcome of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to India.

China is active in most South Asian countries, building infrastructure in a big way, and hence, the India-Russia joint initiative will be an attempt to counter that as well.

India and Russia agreed “to consider cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with third countries”. Negotiators from New Delhi and Moscow said both sides are confident of executing projects jointly. Sources said both sides said the projects in South Asian countries will yield economic and political dividends. South Asian countries, sources said, need smaller nuclear power plants, generating 200-250 MW of power.

Both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are energy starved, and India is helping them by linking their grids with its own. In case of Bangladesh, India is making efforts to link its eastern grid through its border in West Bengal, while in case of Sri Lanka, India is planning to lay underwater cables to connect the power grids in both countries.

For the first time, Russia has also recognised India as a “supplier state” in the nuclear business — both in terms of equipment and fuel.


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