India-Kazakhstan Emerging Ties: A look back at 30 years of Strategic Cooperation

Kazakhstan the largest economy in Central Asia to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations with India in February 2022. The partnership between both nations has grown dynamically across the whole spectrum of cooperation.

The thirty years of diplomatic ties between India and Kazakhstan fall in line with the Government’s decision to hold the first India-Central Asia Summit.

India to hold first India-Central Asia Summit

In a major push towards its extended neighborhood policy, India will host the first meeting of the India-Central Asia Summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will, be hosting the first of its kind engagement between India and Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) in a virtual format on January 27, 2022.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, during the first India-Central Asia Summit, the leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights. During the high-level meeting, the leaders are expected to discuss the evolving regional security situation in the context of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

The announcement to hold the Summit followed, as the Government decided to go ahead with the Republic Day celebrations after the rising COVD-19 cases in the country canceled the visit of the leaders of five central Asian nations as the Chief Guests. However, no official announcement has been made in this regard.

India-Kazakhstan relations:

India and Central Asia share longstanding historical, cultural, political, and economic relations. Of the five Central Asian countries speaking of India-Kazakhstan relations, India was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan in the year 1991 followed by the establishment of diplomatic relations between both countries in the year 1992.

Kazakhstan is India’s largest trading partner in Central Asia. According to the data, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and India in 2019 amounted to $ 1.9 billion, which is 46% higher than for the same period of the previous year. It is pertinent to note that as of 2020, about 700 legal entities and branches with the participation of Indian capital are registered in Kazakhstan.

Strengthening the ties, a Joint Business Council (JBC) was established by FICCI and the Chamber of International Commerce of Kazakhstan to promote trade, economic, and investment cooperation between the two countries.

How important is Kazakhstan to India:

Surrounded by the Caspian Sea in the west to Russia in the North and China in the East, Kazakhstan the largest country in Central Asia and the ninth largest country in the world asserts great strategic importance.

Kazakhstan holds great significance to India especially in terms of energy resources and its economic potential and also due to its geo-strategic location.

From the perspective of energy resources, Kazakhstan is the world’s largest producer of Uranium. According to reports, India sources nearly 80 percent of its uranium requirement from Kazakhstan (as of the year 2019).

According to the data, in 2009 Kazatomprom signed an agreement with India’s Nuclear Power Corporation (NPCIL) to supply 2100 tonnes of uranium to India. Later in July 2015, Kazatomprom signed an agreement with India’s Department of Atomic Energy to supply 5000 tU to India over the period 2015-2019.

However, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to India later in the year 2019 said, India will finalize to renew its pact with Kazakhstan for the supply of uranium from 2020 to 2024.

While on the other hand, India-Kazakhstan cooperation in the energy sector, trade, economic, investment, transport & connectivity, agriculture, information technology, space, healthcare, cultural spheres, and mineral resources hold a bright future.

Earlier during the 13th meeting of the Indo-Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Commission, India expressed interest in expanding hydrocarbon cooperation including the cooperation in the field of delivery of nuclear fuel and components.

Humanitarian Aid:

As a part of global assistance to support India during the COVID-19 second wave in the country, Kazakhstan sent 5.6 million medical aid (masks/respirators) to India earlier in May 2021.

Talking of the investment cooperation in the field of pharmaceuticals between Kazakhstan and India earlier, Kazakhstan Envoy to India, N. Zhalgasbayev noted the high achievements of India in the development of the world pharmaceuticals market and called on Indian companies to actively cooperate with Kazakhstani enterprises.

List of Bilateral International Agreements signed between India and Kazakhstan (2014- till now):

1. Agreement between Centre for Development of Advanced Computing and L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University for establishing India-Kazakhstan Center of Excellence in ICT at Nur-Sultan

– Signed in New Delhi on 27th January, 2014

2. MOU between Governments of India and Kazakhstan for establishing an Educational Center in the sphere of Information and Communication Technology in Kazakhstan

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 27th January, 2014

3. MOU between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India and the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Kazakhstan on Cooperation on Physical Culture and Sports

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 8th July, 2015

4. Long-Term Contract for Sale and Purchase of Natural Uranium Concentrates between JSC “NAC Kazatomprom” and Directorate of Purchase & Stores, Department of Atomic Energy, GOI

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 8th July, 2015

5. MOU between the Ministry of Railways of India and Kazakhstan Temir Zholy on Technical Cooperation in the field of Railways.

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 8th July, 2015

6. Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 8th July, 2015

7. Agreement on Defence and Military Technical Cooperation

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 8th July, 2015

8. MOU on Cooperation between Abay Kazakh National Pedagogical University, Almaty and National Cadet Corps, India

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 4th September, 2015

9. MOU on Cooperation between Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty and National Cadet Corps, India

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 4th September, 2015

10. MOU on Cooperation between South Kazakhstan State Medical Academy, Shymkent and National Cadet Corps, India

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 4th September, 2015

11. MOU on Cooperation between Taraz State University, Taraz and National Cadet Corps, India

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 4th September, 2015

12. MOU on Cooperation between Karaganda State Technical University, Karaganda and National Cadet Corps, India

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 4th September, 2015

13. MOU on Cooperation between East Kazakhstan State Technical University, Ust-Kamenogorsk and National Cadet Corps, India

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 29th September, 2015

14. MOU on amendment of Air Services Agreement between the Governments of India and Kazakhstan

– Signed in Antalya, Turkey on 19th October, 2015

15. Protocol amending the Convention for Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital

– Signed in New Delhi on 6th January, 2017

16. MOU between Governments of India and Kazakhstan on the joint deployment of a Kazakhstani Peacekeeping Company under the Indian Peacekeeping Battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon

– Signed in Nur-Sultan on 21st August, 2018

17. MOU between Financial Services Regulatory Committee of IFSA and the Indian Securities and Exchange Board to establish mutual cooperation and technical assistance

– Signed on December 18, 2019

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