From Volume 36, Issue 51 of EIR Online, Published Dec. 31, 2009
Russia and the CIS News Digest

Chinese-Russian Cooperation Growing in Eurasia

Dec. 21 (EIRNS)—Cooperation between China and Russia is expanding, including throughout Eurasia. Russia's Ambassador to China, Sergei Razov, presented the intense diplomatic program for the two nations in 2010, in Beijing today. Not only will the "traditional summits" take place—Russian President Dmitri Medvedev will go to China, and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Russia—but also there will be frequent exchanges at ministerial level, China Daily quoted Razov. More frequent will be bilateral meetings at the key regional summits, he said, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China-Russia-India trilateral dialogue, and the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China), APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Conference), and G20 summits. Another important event will be celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the victory in the Second World War. "The two countries both think their strategic partnership will grow more mutual, stable and efficient as time goes by," Razov said.

A few days earlier, on Dec. 18, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui, speaking at the opening of the new Chinese consulate-general in the central Siberian city of Irkutsk, emphasized the "planning program for regional cooperation" between northeast China and the Russian Far East Region and Eastern Siberia, which was signed in September. This program, he said, is of greatest importance for joint cooperation in this area, and the opening of the consulate-general is a "key event in bilateral relations." Irkutsk is an important city on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, 70 km from Lake Baikal.

At an informal meeting of President Dmitri Medvedev with leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Almaty, Kazakstan Dec. 20, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov stated that Russia supports the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline project, which opened Dec. 15. Shuvalov said that Russia is working with partners to expand the energy delivery system, since improved and diversified regional energy infrastructure will make it possible for CIS countries to make greater contributions to global energy security, Xinhua reported. Medvedev will go to Turkmenistan tomorrow, to sign an agreement on re-starting Turkmen gas supplies to Russia, and other energy issues. The pipeline ruptured early this year, drastically cutting Turkmenistan's earnings.

2009 Turning Point for India-Russia Ties

Dec. 22 (EIRNS)—The year 2009 was a "turning point" for the strategic partners India and Russia, Press Trust of India wrote today. The two nations have put aside "misunderstandings" to "rediscover each other in the changing global scenario."

Brahmand Defence and Aerospace News (BNS) today quoted Russian India scholar Tatiana Shaumian, director of the Centre of Indian Studies of the Oriental Institute of the Russian Science Academy, on India's high-level moves towards Russia. Dr. Shaumian was a student and long-term colleague of the late Prof. Grigori Bondarevsky, one of Russia's great Eurasia scholars, and a close friend and collaborator of Lyndon and Helga LaRouche, and of the late EIR journalist Mark Burdman.

Indian President Pratibha Patil was in Russia in September, and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in December, to "concretize the two nations' association after New Delhi's pro-US tilt," BNS reported. India gave a "green light" to keep Russia as its key strategic partner, with an umbrella civilian nuclear deal and ten-year defense agreements. When Singh attended the BRIC and Shanghai Cooperation Organization summits in Yekaterinburg, he gave a signal of the special importance India attaches to its relations with Russia, Shaumyan said. "The Kremlin did not fail to notice Singh's gesture, which, to a great extent dispersed the 'India falling into the lap of the Americans' notion widely subscribed to in Russia," she said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will go to India in 2010, BNS reported. Both nations called for doubling their very low bilateral trade of $20 billion by 2015, at the Indo-Russian CEOs Council meeting during Singh's Moscow visit Dec. 6-8. "Strengthening the strategic partnership with India remains one of the key priorities of Russia's foreign policy," Putin told the meeting. "We see, that cooperation with India has acquired real anti-crisis stability, it is not afraid of sharp fluctuations in the global economic conjuncture. Now our task is to move further, activate the whole arsenal of opportunities for the diversification of Russian-Indian contacts."

Russia-India Technological Cooperation Takes a Giant Step Forward

Dec. 25 (EIRNS)—The chief of Russia's department of piloted programs of the Federal space agency, Roskosmos, Alexei Krasnov, told Itar-Tass that Russia has decided to help India to make an indigenously produced manned spaceship, by providing the technology used in developing Soyuz spacecraft. The project is expected to be completed by 2020. On Nov. 24, India's newly appointed chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), K. Radhakrishnan, told the media that by 2015, India will be ready for a manned Moon mission.

Krasnov said: "The Indian side intends to use the experience of building the manned spaceship Soyuz to advance in building their own spaceship. We will build this spaceship on a similar technical scheme, but it will not resemble Soyuz." He pointed out that Soyuz is heavier and cannot be launched by Indian rocket boosters, which are too light to carry the spaceship. The Indian spaceship will be built with the same technology as the Soyuz craft, but will carry a different outer model. India and Russia have been cooperating in space technology since the 1980s.

Meanwhile, the Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), which was set up in the 1960s by the Soviet Union, has, for the first time rolled high-strength special steels used in construction of space vehicles. While the steel slabs were developed by Mishra Dhatu Nigam (Midhani), a Defense Ministry arm, recently these plates of 9.5 mm. thickness were rolled for the first time at BSP's Plate Mill. The rolled plates are used for manufacturing the main body of India's indigenous space vehicles.

India-Russia Collaboration on Nuclear Reactor Manufacture

Dec. 25 (EIRNS)—The Indian engineering and construction company Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and Atomstroyexport (ASE) of Russia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation relating to VVER 1000 Russian-design reactors. L&T and ASE will work together in the construction of Koodankulam power units, as well as construction of plants of Russian designs with VVER reactors in India and other countries. L&T said the MoU represents a major step for the company in VVER component and systems manufacturing and services.

Atomstroyexport JSC is a leading engineering company (subordinated to the state corporation Rosatom), which implements inter-governmental construction agreements for nuclear facilities abroad. Atomstroyexport orders total 20% of the global volume. The company is currently working in China, India, Iran, and Bulgaria, L&T said.

It is evident that worldwide demand for nuclear reactors exceeds worldwide nuclear reactor manufacturing capacity by a wide margin. Decades of anti-nuclear campaigning have led to total stagnation in reactor manufacturing in the West. Now, Russia is emerging as a major supplier of nuclear reactors, particularly as principal suppliers of reactors to the two most power-starved large nations, India and China. Russia, China, and India have sped up the process of utilizing each other's capabilities in various infrastructure sub-sectors.

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