India, Kazakhstan sign 5 key agreements to bolster ties

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Astana, Jul 8 : India and Kazakhstan today inked five key agreements including a defence pact to enhance military cooperation and a contract for supply of uranium.

The agreement was inked after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev held comprehensive talks in which they decided to actively engage in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

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Modi, who held restricted as well as delegation-level talks with Nazarbayev, noted that they also agreed to work closely to expand bilateral trade by addressing structural impediments between India and hydrocarbon-rich Kazakhstan.

"We have shared perspectives on many international issues, including regional peace, connectivity and integration; reforms in the United Nations; and, combating terrorism," the Prime Minister said at a joint press event here with Nazarbayev.

Noting that the defence and security cooperation was an important dimension of strategic partnership between the two countries, Modi said, "We both want to make it stronger, including in defence manufacturing.

We welcome the new Memorandum of Understanding on defence cooperation." The MoU would further widen the scope of bilateral defence cooperation including regular exchange of visits, consultations, training of military personnel, military- technical cooperation, joint exercises, special forces exchanges and cooperation in UN peacekeeping operations.

Welcoming the signing of a contract between NC "KazAtomProm" JSC and NPCIL for a renewed long term supply of natural uranium to India to meet its energy requirements, Modi said, "Kazaksthan was one of the first countries with which we launched civil nuclear cooperation through a uranium purchase contract.

"We are pleased to have a much larger second contract now. We intend to expand cooperation in other minerals, as well". A joint statement 'Tej kadam' was also released after talks which said the Leaders noted the rising challenge posed by terrorism in many parts of the world and in their immediate region and underlined the importance of a stable and secure environment for peaceful economic development.

"They agreed to continue their active engagement in the fight against terrorism and extremism including exchange of information," it said. In this context, they highlighted the importance of regular inter-agency consultations and meetings of the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.

The Leaders also called for early conclusion of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. Observing that Kazakhstan was India's biggest economic partner in the region, Modi said, "But, our relations are modest, compared to our potential.

We will work together to take economic ties to a new level." The other pacts included Treaty on Transfer of Sentenced Persons, human resources, cultural exchanges and capacity building.

PTI

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