India said today it is collaborating with Russia to build the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, the first initiative under a Indo-Russia deal to undertake atomic energy projects in third countries. This will also be India’s first atomic energy venture abroad.
“We are collaborating with our Russian and Bangladeshi partners on establishing Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh,” Atomic Energy Commission chairman Sekhar Basu said at the 61st general conference of the global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Basu’s remarks are significant given that the Indian nuclear establishment for years has not been able to grow, internationally, due to sanctions imposed on New Delhi post the 1974 Pokhran tests.
It was, however, not clear what kind of “collaboration” India was doing since it is not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group– a 48 member grouping that controls the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nukes.
The Rooppur project, which is being built by the Russians near Dhaka, will be Bangladesh’s first atomic energy project. After commissioning of two units, each with a capacity of 1200 MWs, Bangladesh will be the third South Asian country after India and Pakistan to harness energy from atomic fission.