Kazakhstan signs civil nuclear deal with India (Second Lead)

January 24th, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha PatilNew Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Central Asian republic Kazakhstan Saturday became the fourth nation after the US, France and Russia to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with India.Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is on a four-day visit to the country ahead of India’s Republic Day parade where he is the chief guest, was present at the delegation-level talks between the two countries here, along with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and President Pratibha Patil.

The scope of the agreement involves export of uranium from Kazakhstan, the world’s second largest producer, for India’s civil nuclear programme, which is under International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) safeguards.

Other deals signed Saturday included an extradition treaty and an agreement for cooperation on space research programmes of the two countries.

Additionally, upstream oil majors ONGC Mittal Energy of India and National Co KazmunaiG (KMG) of Kazakhstan signed an agreement for exploration in the Satpayev block in the Caspian Sea. The Indian firm was offered 25 percent in the block.

Kazakhstan had earlier asked that India support its entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the protocol for which was also signed Saturday.

Mukherjee represented India on account of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s illness, and the venue for the talks was shifted from Hyderabad House to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Manmohan Singh has undergone a bypass surgery in a Delhi hospital and will take a few weeks to recover. Mukherjee, who is officiating in his place, has taken on some of the prime minister’s protocol duties.

Kazakhstan has the world’s second largest uranium reserves and is the leading exporter for the nuclear fuel.

This is President Nazarbayev’s fourth visit to India, but it is the first time a leader of a Central Asian country is the chief guest at the annual Republic Day parade Jan 26.

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