India will sign three major agreements with Kazakhstan on Saturday – a framework agreement on civil nuclear cooperation, an agreement between state oil companies on a 25 per cent stake for India in a Caspian Sea basin block and on agriculture, Kazakhstan Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov told a select group of journalists here on Friday. The two countries will also agree on a road map for strategic cooperation, he added.

During the summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the two sides are also expected to identify new areas of cooperation such as cyber security and health care. They would also signal interest in joining hands in non-mineral areas such as pharmaceuticals and IT, said Dr. Umarov who served for five years as Kazakhstan Ambassador in India.

It was during his tenure as Ambassador that Mr. Nazarbayev made the landmark visit to India in 2009 when he was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade. The visit and the spadework that went before it helped elevate the bilateral relationship.

Dr. Singh is the first major leader to visit Kazakhstan after Mr. Nazarbayev's re-election as President.

In addition, Kazakhstan, the largest and economically most powerful among the five Central Asian nations, is poised to play an even greater role on the global stage, taking over the chair of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) next year and hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit this July. It has recorded a seven per cent economic growth, which had slid to one per cent during the global economic crisis.

In fact, Kazakhstan will also hold the first meeting of OIC Foreign Ministers after the West Asia-Middle East crisis. Steering clear of the issue of OIC inviting Kashmiri separatists, Dr. Umarov said the “real necessity'' is for Islamic countries to modernise, “to change the whole pattern.'' He said the OIC had actually decided to discuss this issue before the crises broke out.

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