At a media briefing here today, Senior External Affairs Ministry officials said the visit was significant as it was taking place at a time when the two countries were celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and the former Soviet republic.
Ukraine is counted among the world’s top 10 defence equipment producers as it has inherited a defence industry producing tanks and planes. Additionally, it has the capacity to build aircraft carrier ships as the undivided Soviet Union’s aircraft manufacturing facilities were located in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.
According to Ajay Bisaria, Joint Secretary (Euarasia) in MEA, India and Ukraine had signed an agreement in 2009 for upgradation and overhauling of a total of 100 AN-32 aircraft with the Indian Air Force (IAF). Of these, the first lot of 25 aircraft had already been upgraded in Ukraine while the rest would be overhauled by the Ukrainians in India.
Talking about the proposed nuclear cooperation between the two countries, Bisaria said there was a considerable convergence of interest between the two countries in this field. Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy and has 15 reactors generating about half of its electricity. It receives most of its nuclear services and nuclear fuel from Russia.
The official said some Ukrainian nuclear specialists were also working on the Kudankulam nuclear power plants (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu being built with Russian assistance.
However, he noted that Indian nationals were facing problems in getting Ukrainian visa, as a consequence of which bilateral trade has not reached up to its potential. Therefore, India has suggested a visa simplification agreement between the two countries. This issue also would be discussed during the Ukrainian leader’s visit.
KEY DEFENCE EQUIPMENT PRODUCER
- Ukraine is counted among the world’s top 10 defence equipment producers as it has inherited a defence industry producing tanks and planes
- Ukrainian nuclear specialists were also working on the Kudankulam nuclear power plants (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu being built with Russian assistance