Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Cranky in King Modi's Court

Russia agrees with India to construct 12 nuclear reactors

NEW DELHI Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:01pm IST
 (Reuters) - Russia's state-owned Rosatom said it would supply 12 nuclear energy reactors for India over 20 years, under an agreement aimed at boosting nuclear energy cooperation signed by the two countries during a summit in New Delhi on Thursday.
A 1,000-megawatt reactor is operating at the Russian-built Kudankulam power station in Tamil Nadu, with a second due to come onstream in 2015.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had been pushing for Rosatom to increase the number of reactors it could supply to as many as 25.
Indian officials say that a total of six reactors will be built at Kudankulam, with a further six to follow at a site that has not yet been determined.
(Reporting by John Chalmers; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Jeremy Laurence)

Exclusive - Crimean leader in New Delhi during Putin visit

NEW DELHI Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:45pm IST
Pro-Russian head of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov speaks during a news conference in Moscow, October 16, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev/Files
Pro-Russian head of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov speaks during a news conference in Moscow, October 16, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev/Files
(Reuters) - The leader of Crimea, the former Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia, arrived for unofficial talks in New Delhi on Thursday as President Vladimir Putin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a summit.
Sergey Aksyonov met a Mumbai businessman to discuss boosting trade with the Black Sea region. India does not support Western sanctions against Russia, but the meeting may prove an irritant before President Barack Obama visits India in January.
Russian officials declined to comment, but a senior diplomat arrived with Aksyonov at an upscale New Delhi hotel for the meeting to sign a memorandum with a business group called the Indian-Crimean Partnership.
Gul Kripalani, a seafood merchant who chairs the group, told Reuters before the meeting that it was unofficial, but added that Aksyonov "happened to be on the flight with His Excellency President Putin".
A spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs said he was not officially aware of the Crimean visit and that Aksyonov was not a member of Putin's delegation.
India has made it clear that it would not support Western sanctions against Russia imposed over the annexation of Crimea in February, and the Kremlin's support for an armed uprising in by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Robert Birsel)

Russian, Indian funds to invest $1 billion in hydro power

NEW DELHI Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:13pm IST
Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, smiles during the Reuters Russia Investment Summit in Moscow September 14, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov/Files
Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, smiles during the Reuters Russia Investment Summit in Moscow September 14, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Denis Sinyakov/Files


Federal Hydro-Generating Company RusHydro OAO
14:14:00 IDT
14:13:00 IDT

(Reuters) - The Russian Direct Investment Fund will team up with an Indian partner to invest $1 billion in hydroelectric projects in Asia's third-largest economy, the head of the Russian state fund told Reuters on Wednesday.
The RDIF and India's IDFC, a leading infrastructure investor, will each commit $500 million to projects under a deal to be signed on Thursday during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to overcome India's chronic power shortages, and the country has vast untapped hydroelectric potential in its northern Himalayan belt.
RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev told Reuters the investments would back projects involving a large Russian hydro-power company but he declined to name the company.
The only large Russian player in this area is state-controlled Rushydro. Rushydro's spokeswoman Yelena Vishnyakova could not immediately be reached by for comment.
IDFC, which is 16 percent state owned, confirmed it would sign a partnership with RDIF but declined to comment on the details.
The Russian fund was set up in 2011 with $10 billion in state funds. It can back investments as long as its partners match it at least dollar for dollar. Dmitriev said he expected to commit funds to the Indian projects next year.
The RDIF has so far invested $1.3 billion of its own money along with $6 billion by outside investors, mainly sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East and Asia.
Dmitriev said the RDIF had managed to turn profits on investments in a Russian telecoms company and the Moscow stock exchange despite Western sanctions, a slowing economy and sliding oil prices.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Additional reporting by Katya Golubkova in Moscow and Tommy Wilkes in New Delhi. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Essar Group, Rosneft to sign 10-year oil deal - sources

NEW DELHI Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:57pm IST
Employees walk past an Essar Group logo outside their headquarters in Mumbai May 20, 2013. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash/Files
Employees walk past an Essar Group logo outside their headquarters in Mumbai May 20, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash/Files

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14:17:24 IDT
Essar Oil Ltd
14:17:00 IDT
Oil India Ltd
14:17:00 IDT

(Reuters) - India's Essar Group will sign a long-term crude oil import deal with Russia's Rosneft during President Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi on Thursday, government and industry sources said on Wednesday.
"Essar will sign an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with them (Rosneft)," two Indian government sources said. "The deal will be for 10 years," an industry source familiar with the matter said.
Essar Group operates the 405,000 barrels per day (bpd) Vadinar refinery in the western state of Gujarat and also the 296,000 bpd Stanlow refinery in northwest England which is operating at below its capacity.
Volumes, pricing and other details of the deal with state-controlled Rosneft, the world's largest listed oil firm by output, were not immediately known. Essar depends heavily on Iran to feed its Vadinar refinery.
In January, sources told Reuters that Russia and Iran were negotiating an oil-for-goods swap deal.
Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was quoted on Nov. 30 as saying the deal with Iran might be sealed soon. Iran Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh on Wednesday said there was no such plan in prospect.
Russia, isolated by the West over its annexation of Crimea and role in the Ukraine crisis, has a close relationship with India that dates back to the Soviet era.
India and Russia are expected to issue a joint statement aimed at strengthening the energy partnership between the two countries.
State-run explorer Oil India Ltd will also sign an initial deal with Russia's state-owned Zarubezhneft to cooperate in the hydrocarbons sector, sources said.
Oil India will explore hiring the Moscow-based firm's drilling vessel Deep Venture and seek Zarubezhneft's help in extracting heavy oil from the Indian firm's Rajasthan block.
An Essar spokesman declined to comment. Oil India chairman S.K. Srivastava declined comment. Rosneft could not be immediately reached for comment.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Jane Merriman)


Russia’s ambassador to India: the quotable Alexander Kadakin

By Douglas Busvine
December 9, 2014

(Russian President Vladimir Putin is coming to India this week to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to discuss ways to improve relations. Moscow and New Delhi enjoyed warm ties during the days of the Soviet Union, when India was a member of a non-aligned bloc of nations. The friendship recently has become strained as India relies more on U.S. and French companies to meet its defence needs, something that chafes Russia as it deals with sanctions from western nations over Ukraine. Russia meanwhile has alarmed Indian public opinion with a recent visit by its defence minister to Pakistan. Russia’s ambassador Alexander Kadakin, a veteran diplomat first posted to New Delhi more than 40 years ago, discussed Putin’s visit at a press conference on Monday. Here are some of his remarks.
On the nature of the talks:  “Undoubtedly, the upcoming visit will be saturated with unprecedentedly fruitful talks, efficient and productive to the maximum.”
On Western pressure against Russia: “These daydreaming minions should better get rid of illusions that Russia would ever act under anybody’s diktat or pressure. Who are they to dictate to us? Dictations are means for those greenhorn neophytes with no moustache who recently joined or are loathing at the doorsteps eager to join military blocks or other ‘non-traditional’ partnerships…”
On energy: Russia has gifted energy resources to India in the past, and doesn’t do this for “every Jack, Tim or Harry”.
On Indian fighter pilots after reports of hard landings on Russian-built aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya: “You do have excellent pilots and Indian pilots are famous across the world, but some of your pilots are like young people … They behave like cowboys. They are rash drivers.”
On oligarchs: “Putin’s business delegation will comprise ’15 Russian strongmen’”.
On President Barack Obama courting India: “We don’t feel jealous, though of course I say that India is a very rich fiancee. It is good for a rich fiancee to have a beautiful bridegroom. But they should not promise you a marriage and then betray you.”
On a “multi-polar world“: “We want to have a multi-coloured polyphonic world which plays like a symphony orchestra.”

...and I am Sid Harth

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