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Kazakhstan signs agreement to supply uranium

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: India and Kazakhstan on Saturday signed a major agreement for supply of uranium and a comprehensive cooperation in civil nuclear energy programme. Kazakhstan also invited India to join in uranium exploration .

The pact was among a clutch of agreements singed here during the visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. President Pratibha Patil was present on the occasion as External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee his Kazhakstan counterpart, Marat Tazhin signed the extradition treaty .

Besides these, both countries also signed a protocol on the accession of Kazhakstan to the World Trade Organisation (WTO); a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Space Research Organisation and National Space Agency and between ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd and National Company KazMunai.

As per the nuclear agreement, Kazakhstan will supply uranium to India under terms and conditions that would be discussed and decided later. “It is a big step forward towards achieving our targets for generating nearly 30,000 MWe of nuclear power by 2020. This is a historic agreement between the two nations and would strengthen ties and bilateral cooperation,” Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh, who signed the agreement on the WTO accession, said.

It was decided that both countries would formulate a comprehensive agreement at a later stage for cooperation in civil nuclear energy area. Kazakhstan also expressed keen interest in purchasing nuclear reactors from India in the near future. Kazakhstan invited Indian companies and government to join hands for uranium mining in its country and provide necessary expertise for the same.

On the other hand, India also extended its full support to Kazakhstan for its accession to the WTO. Kazakhstan has also completed bilateral WTO related talks with 22 countries and India has responded positively to its request to become part of the WTO. India also offered help to provide training facilities to Kazhakstan officials to deal with the WTO matters.

In another agreement, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Limited (OVL) and its partner company Mittal Energy Limited signed a deal with Kazakhstan’s state owned KazMunai Gas to take a 25 per cent stake in Kazakhstan’s prospective Satpayev oil field in the Caspian Sea.

Kazakhstan had initially identified the Satpayev and Makhambet blocks in the Caspian Sea for giving a 50 per cent stake in one of them to OVL. Later it reduced the stake on offer to 25 per cent on condition that the Indian flagship will team up with steel baron Lakshmi N Mittal for entry. KazMunaiGas will hold the remaining 75 per cent stake in Satpayev.

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