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India, Kazakhstan sign civil nuclear pact

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and Kazakhstan have signed a civil nuclear pact under which the uranium-rich Central Asian country would be supplying the much-needed fuel to atomic plants in the country. Kazakhstan has also offered five blocks for discovery of oil and gas to India.

According to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is also the chief guest for the 60th Republic Day celebrations, oil and gas is a highly prospective area for collaboration between India and Kazakhstan as his country has oil and gas reserves for 50 and 75 years, respectively.

Kazakhstan would offer special economic zones (SEZ) to India. Once the construction of these industrial zones is completed, the Kazakhstan government would come up with a comprehensive taxation policy. Both the countries have formed a strategic partnership for setting up joint projects in construction, oil and gas, minerals and metallurgy. Besides, Kazakhstan will supply uranium to India for peaceful purpose.

Soliciting investments from India, the visiting president especially emphasised the need for setting up manufacturing facilities in the pharmaceutical sector in Kazakhstan as it imports $500 million medicines annually. Another sector for cooperation identified by the president include IT, financial and banking services.

Exports from Kazakhstan to India in January-November 2008 amounted to $149.7 million, which is 3.2 times higher in comparison with the similar period in 2007 ($47 million). The import from India to Kazakhstan in January-November 2008 rose to $182.7 million, 37.8 per cent more than $132.6 million in the similar period in 2007.

Major commodities of export from India to Kazakhstan are tea, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, machinery, tobacco and consumer items. Almost all the major pharmaceutical companies have presence in Kazakhstan.

Mittal steel is a major NRI investment worth nearly $2 billion.

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