New Delhi: In a bid to enhance safety of its increasing number of nuclear plants, India yesterday inked a pact with Ukraine on Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection to take advantage of its expertise in the crucial sector.
Four other pacts, including framework agreement to expand defence ties were also inked between the two countries after comprehensive talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych during which they agreed to forge a comprehensive partnership between their countries. Noting that they exchanged views on nuclear energy and nuclear safety, where they can learn a great deal from each other, Singh said, "The unfortunate Chernobyl accident has given Ukraine valuable insight and knowledge in dealing with this critical issue.
"Through the Agreement that has just been signed between the nuclear regulatory authorities of both sides, we have agreed to share our experiences in nuclear safety and radiation protection."
The nuclear disaster on 26 April, 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine (then officially Ukrainian SSR) is one of only two classified accidents as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.
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In a press statement, the prime minister also said that the two countries were already undertaking a number of defence cooperation projects and yesterday's defence cooperation agreement establishes a new framework for expending this cooperation.
Apart from nuclear safety and defence, the three pacts inked are — Cooperation in the Fields of Science and Technology, Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters and Standardisation, Conformity Assessment and Quality cooperation.
Noting that India and Ukraine were currently cooperating on advanced space launch vehicles, Singh said, "We have also broadened our scientific cooperation to draw upon the rich science and technology base that both countries possess."
The two leaders also discussed ways to enhance their bilateral commercial relations.
"Both of us noted that our bilateral trade has more than doubled in the last five years to nearly 3 billion dollars, though it is heavily weighed in favour of Ukraine. We agreed to further strengthen our commercial relations and make them more broad-based and balanced," Singh said.