India, Kazakhstan to sign N-agreement

India, Kazakhstan to sign N-agreement

India has sent a draft of the Inter Governmental Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy to Kazakhstan for its perusal before the two sides ink the pact.

Kazakhstan will be the fourth country after the US, Russia and France with whom India will have such a broad-based civil nuclear agreement.

"There is progress in preparation of the agreement on nuclear cooperation in peaceful uses. We are finishing up the agreement and will be sending it to Indian side," Kazakhstan's Ambassador Kairat Umarov said.

"Final touches are being given (to the text of the agreement) on our side. Soon we will pass it on to the Indian side for consideration," he said.

Asked by when the pact is expected to be signed, Umarov said if all goes well, "probably by the end of first half of this year, surely."

The framework agreement will encompass all aspects related to nuclear power. "It will involve not only fuel supplies but also technology transfer, construction of small and medium power stations, R and D facilities," the Kazakh envoy said.

India and Kazakhstan had initiated talks on the agreement following the visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev here in January.

Kazakhstan, tipped to become the world's largest uranium producer, is keen to have civil nuclear cooperation with India whose industry is set to expand after the end to its 34-year isolation in the field.

India and Kazakhstan are also working on forging cooperation in thermal power sector.

"National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is one of the companies from Indian side which are talking to," the Kazakh Ambassador said.

"We proposed (Indian companies) to come and explore, either greenfield projects in our norther region or renovating existing ones, which include huge ones of the capacity of 4000 MW. We will continue discussions on that," Umarov said.

Contending that there is immense business potential for power companies in Kazakhstan, Umarov said Indian firms can sell electricity within Kazakhstan as also the neighbouring countries like China and Russia, where the demand is high.

"As we are growing economically, we need a lot of energy... It is a very competitive sector there," the Kazakh Ambassador said, adding Indian companies can construct hydel power stations and sell electricity locally there.

"Never consider Kazakhstan in isolation as neighbouring countries also have the capacity, including China... there is a good market there," he said.

He noted that Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is opening office in Kazakhstan.

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