Kazakhstan ready for 'N' coop with India, waiting for NSG nod

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New Delhi, Aug 31 (UNI) Kazakhstan, world's second largest producer of Uranium, is ready for civilian nuclear cooperation with India but is waiting for a clearance to the Indo-US nuclear agreement by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which will meet in Vienna on September 4-5.

The two countries which held the second meeting of the India-Kazakhstan Joint Working Group (JWG) in Hydrocarbon sector here, deliberated on issues of cooperation and prospects for further development of relations between the two countries.

Kazakhstan's Vice Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, Bolat Akchulakov, told UNI here today that his country was open to discussions with India and Indian companies for cooperation in energy sector.

It had no objecton to the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation and would not stand in the way for India's nuclear commerce with the rest of the world but was only waiting for clearance by the NSG which would meet again on September 4-5 in Vienna.

Mr Akchulakov, who met Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, said relations with India were now more close and the two countries were strengthening cooperation, specially in the energy sector.

''The deliberations of the second meeting of India-Kazakhstan Joint Working Group in Hydrocarbon sector were marked by cordiality and warmth characteristic of the traditional relations between the two countries. The two sides deliberated on issues of cooperation and prospects of development of relations between India and Kazakhstan in Hydrocarbon sector,'' a senior official of the Kazakhstan embassy here said.

Progress on the decisions taken in the First Joint Working Group Meeting held in Astana in 2006 was reviewed by the two sides.

The Indian delegation informed that, as agreed between the two sides, ONGC Videsh Limited had opened a full-fledged Representative office in Astana and posted a senior officer there to liaise with Kazakhstan government agencies and pursue opportunities and its business interest there.

The two sides noted the progress made in the ongoing negotiations between KazMunayGaz (KMG) and ONGC Videsh Ltd/ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd (OVL/OMEL).

Having regard to the support extended by the two Governments, the sides agreed to recommend KMG and OVL/OMEL to put all joint efforts in agreeing on basic issues of the Agreement on principles of cooperation. The Kazakhstan side will inform about the venue and dates of the meeting later.

The two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the Joint Working Group in Astana.

The two countries have also decided to launch a joint war against terrorism. Minister of State for External Affairs, Anand Sharma, who was in Almaty last week to participate in the CICA Ministerial Conference, said there was common need to combat extremism and terrorism.

He said India would continue to actively participate in the CICA process and believed that there was a need to concentrate on simple and uncomplicated issues for cooperation and focus on CBMs that are practical and achievable and at a pace comfortable to all.

Mr Sharma said India believed that CICA could help contribute to the development of a cooperative and pluralistic security order in Asia, based on mutual understanding, trust and sovereign equality.

UNI RB PD RN1521

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