India has been seeking to increase the nuclear energy component of its power matrix with 25 per cent share coming from nuclear energy by 2050. India is also exploring the nuclear export markets and with the seat at Nuclear Suppliers’ Group still in process, the India-Russia-Bangladesh tripartite agreement has been a sort of game-changer for India. And with this the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh became India’s first nuclear power venture on foreign soil.
“Certainly the Indian private companies would get hands-on experience by being involved in the development of nuclear industry in the neighbourhood. This would, first, strengthen India’s credentials for NSG membership; and second, generate goodwill for India from neighbours. India cannot and should not ignore the nuclear energy projects in its neighbourhood when it has so much to offer and get benefitted in return,” said Dr. Sitakanta Mishra. He teaches at the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU), Gujarat.
Russia has an advantage over other players as the nuclear-technology provider is state-owned unlike the US, where the nuclear agreements may have to go through “bureaucratic hurdles, hearings, testimonies, recommendations etc.” “The Roopur nuclear power plant project provides a rare opportunity for both India and Russia to take their time-tested nuclear energy cooperation to a greater height,” Prof. Mishra added. Both the countries are also exploring a similar working model in Sri Lanka as well.
The trilateral agreement was signed by India, Russia and Bangladesh in March 2018. The document establishes the basis for the interaction of the Russian contractor Atomstroyexport JSC with Indian and Bangladeshi specialists in the implementation of the project. In particular, the parties plan to cooperate in personnel training, experience sharing and consulting support. Under the agreement, Indian companies will participate in construction and installation work, supply of non-critical materials and equipment for the project.