India, Ukraine ink pact on n-safety

India on Monday signed a pact with Ukraine to take advantage of its expertise in nuclear safety and radiation protection. The agreement was signed in the presence of visiting Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Hyderabad House.

After the bilateral talks, the Prime Minister 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 part of the erstwhile USSR, is one of the two big nuclear accidents, the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that took place in Japan in 2011.

Four more pacts viz framework agreement to expand defence ties, cooperation in science and technology, treaty on mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters and standardisation, conformity assessment and quality cooperation were also signed.

Singh said that the two countries are already undertaking many defence cooperation projects.

Noting that India and Ukraine were currently cooperating on advanced space launch vehicles, the Prime Minister said, "We have also broadened our scientific cooperation to draw upon the rich science and technology base that both countries possess."

"Both of us noted that our bilateral trade has more than doubled in the last five years to nearly $3 billion, 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.

The two countries also identified a number of areas such as fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, information technology, mining and heavy machinery for special attention.

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