India to ink civilian nuclear-deal with Kazakhstan soon

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Astana, Kazakhstan, May 12 (ANI): India and Kazakhstan are all set to sign a civilian nuclear agreement that will facilitate Indian investments in mining sector and supply of uranium from Kazakhstan.

Speaking at a joint press conference after holding the foreign ministers' delegation-level talks, the External Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna, on Wednesday said: "I am confident that an inter-governmental agreement on Civilian Nuclear Energy cooperation will be finalised soon."

"This sector has immense possibilities for bilateral cooperation, including for supply of uranium ore, investment by Indian companies in mining in Kazakhstan, construction of nuclear reactors and others," Krishna added.

Earlier, Krishna, who is on a three-day visit to Kazakhstan, held discussions with his counterpart Kanat B Saudavayeb on the issue of civilian nuclear cooperation.

Later, Lata Reddy, Secretary East, Ministry of External Affairs, informed that the talks are in final stage and it will be signed soon. But she didn't confirm the timing of the deal with the Central Asian country.

Kazakhstan is the world's second largest producer of uranium after Australia.

Australia has refused to supply uranium to India saying it cannot supply the strategic mineral to countries like India, which have not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

On cooperation in the oil sector, Lata Reddy said that the government was happy with the progress of discussions on India's participation in the Satpayev oil block.

India had already signed an umbrella agreement for this purpose during President Nazarbayev's visit to New Delhi in January 2009.

"We have been assured of an internal agreement between the Kazakhstan oil ministry and the Indian Petroleum ministry after which an agreement would be signed between ONGC Videsh and the Kazakh oil company," Reddy added.

Reddy disclosed that India, having great interest in crude oil import from Kazakhstan, can provide helping hand in oil exploration too. By Ravi Shankar(ANI)

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