Manmohan Singh welcomes Kazakhstan agreements

"(The agreements) represent solid and substantive outcomes in sectors where we have complementary strengths," the prime minister said in a statement.

India got a foothold in Kazakhstan's oil and gas assets Saturday with the signing of an agreement to buy a 25 percent stake in the Central Asian country's Satpayev exploration block in the Caspian Sea.

"In addition we have agreed on the need to diversify our cooperation, particularly in pharmaceuticals, information technology, mining, fertilizers and science and technology," the prime minister said.

India has also offered to set up a joint Information Technology Centre of Excellence in the Eurasian University in Astana, the Kazakh capital.

He said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's visit to India in 2009 was a landmark event that paved the way for the important agreements signed during this visit.

The prime minister added that he welcomed the signing of the roadmap for projects and activities to be undertaken between 2011 and 2014.

"We have agreed on the need to improve land connectivity so that trade and transit between India and Central Asia in general and Kazakhstan in particular can become the vehicle of integration and prosperity in the region," he said.

The two countries also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and cooperation in international forums, including the United Nations and regional processes.

"We have agreed that our agencies will intensify their dialogue in the fields of counter-terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and extremism," Manmohan Singh said. The prime minister arrived here Friday for his maiden two-day visit after a three-day trip to China during which he attended the 3rd BRICS summit and also held bilateral talks with the presidents of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.

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