India-Kazakhstan Uranium deal signed

Wednesday, January 28, 2009, 14:16 by Business Editor

India and Kazakhstan have entered into an agreement, according to which Kazakhstan will provide Uranium to India.

Kazakhstan’s External Affairs minister Marat Tazhin signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with his Indian counterpart Pranabh Mukherjee, during the Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s India visit.

Mr.Pranabh Mukherjee led a team of delegations in the absence of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh who is undergoing a bypass operation. Indian president Pratibha Patil was also present during the signing of the MoU.

As per the MoU, the uranium-rich country Kazakhstan agreed to export uranium to India to enhance India’s civil nuclear agenda. According to reports, the MoU, between Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Kazakhstan’s state owned KazAtomProm, will also allow Kazakhstan to help build atomic power plants in India.

The terms and conditions of the nuclear deal will be discussed and decided later.

This will be India’s fourth major nuclear deal after having a successful extradition with France, US, and Russia.

Kazakhstan is the world’s third largest uranium producer after Australia and Canada and is likely to overcome them by 2010.

“On September 4, on the first day of the NSG meeting, Kazakhstan’s permanent representative made a speech strongly supporting India’s case. This was despite the fact that Kazakhstan suffered 500 nuclear tests conducted on its territory by the USSR in the 20th century,” Umarov was quoted as saying.

Apart from the nuclear deal, both the countries also signed four other treaties that included Kazakhstan’s access to the World Trade Organization (WTO); A MoU between the Indian space research centre and National Space Agency and between ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd and National Company KazMunai.

“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.

Kazakhstan also showed keen interest in purchasing atomic reactors from India in the near future. Kazakhstan also invited India in mining uranium in their country and offer to provide the necessary expertise as well.

Kazakhstan has finished talks with 22 other countries for their accession in the WTO and India responding positively said that they would provide the Kazakhstani officials with elementary training to deal with WTO matters.

In one more agreement between the two nations, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Limited (OVL) and its partner company Mittal Energy Limited will now have 25% stake in Kazakhstan’s prospective Satpayev oil field in the Caspian Sea.

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