– Bulat Sarsenbayev*
On 22 February 2017 Kazakhstan and India celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relationships. Though Kazakhstan-Indian diplomatic relations were established only a quarter of the century ago, contacts between our nations have a long history including the days of the Great Silk Road. Signed during the first visit of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to India the agreement establishing diplomatic relations gave a start to close friendly relations between the two nations based on the fundamental principles of international cooperation. The reason of why President of Kazakhstan chose India to be the first country outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to visit in February 1992 just after Kazakhstan regained independence is in similarity of both countries in multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, multi-cultural policy vectors and in views of both countries that coincide on all major domestic and international issues.
Kazakhstan’s relations with India have always been warm and friendly. Bilateral relations between Astana and Delhi are based on equal partnership, mutual respect and understanding. Ties between the two countries, maturing from year to year, show great potential, which has everything to once again bring the Kazakhstan-India relations to a new level of cooperation.
Both governments have regular meetings at all levels which indicates the dynamic development of bilateral cooperation. The President of Kazakhstan visited India in 1992, 1996, 2002 and 2009, when the 4 Indian prime ministers returned their official visits – P. V. Narasimha Rao in 1993, Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2002, Manmohan Singh in 2011 and Narendra Modi in 2015.
2015 year was the particularly successful period in bilateral relations. On July 7, 2015, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, accompanied by a group of businessmen and industrialists visited Kazakhstan on an official visit, which gave the Kazakh-Indian relations corresponding dynamism. During the visit, the Business Forum with the participation of leading businessmen of both countries was held in Astana. The outcomes of the forum was establishment of the Joint Business Council and signing of the joint “Road Map”.
At presence, Kazakhstan and India share the common views on the global and regional processes, collaborate in important spheres of multilateral diplomacy. We have consistently supported the Delhi policy in its aspiration to obtain a permanent seat in UN Security Council, as well as in the issue of obtaining full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). India supported the candidacy of Kazakhstan for a non-permanent UN Security Council member for 2017-2018 years and confirmed the country’s participation in EXPO 2017 which is going to be held in Astana from June to September 2017. Also, India actively participates in the activities of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). All these became an important factor in the deepening of interstate dialogue.
The volume of trade turnover between Kazakhstan and India is the second largest among the post-soviet states and exceeds the volume of all Central Asian states taken together.
Bilateral trade statistics:
2014 – 1.3 bln USD (export from KZ 1.8 bln USD, import 260.6 mln USD)
2015 – 461 mln USD (export 220 mln USD, import 241 mln USD)
2016 January-November 618.4 mln USD (export 414.6 mln USD, 203.8 mln USD).
For the period from 2005 to 2017, the gross inflow of direct international investments from the Republic of India to the Republic of Kazakhstan amounted to 245 million US dollars. The gross outflow of direct investments from the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Republic of India for the same period amounted to 83 million US dollars.
According to the statistics there are more than 400 registered companies with indian participation in Kazakhstan and more than 100 of them are doing active business. Indian investments are in areas such as oil and gas, banking, engineering, restaurants, pharmaceutical trading, mining, steel, travel agency, trading and services. Arcelor Mittal Temirtau, SUN Group, Punjab National Bank and ONGC Videsh Limited are among the major Indian owned companies operating in Kazakhstan. Nowdays leading Indian companies such as GMR, Jaypee group and Dastur KM are exploring opportunities of entering to Kazakhstan.
On 7 July 2015 Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Mr. Karim Massimov launched through live telebridge drilling program of well STP-1 at Satpayev block in Kazakhstan, where India ONGC Videsh Ltd. owns 25% of shares.
The two countries also signed a fresh contract for supply of 5 000 tones of natural uranium to India during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Kazakhstan in July 2015.
KazStroyService one of the largest EPC Companies in Kazakhstan, has worked over the last six years to construct refinery project at Paradip, Orissa. KSS extended fullest cooperation for execution of this Project which was inaugurated by Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on 07th February 2016.
During 2014-2015 one of the leading Kazakhstan geophysical companies JSC «Azimut Energy Services» completed seismic 3D projects survey in the state of Rajasthan.
Air Astana operates daily flights between Delhi and Almaty with onward connections. At the moment company is studying the opportunity of opening direct flights to Astana.
More than 15 000 tourists from Kazakhstan annually visit Goa. The direct charter flights between two countries are operated by Kazakhstan air company SCAT.
The experience of 20 years of diplomatic relations shows that we have chosen the correct direction of development of our cooperation. Its potential is very large and is creative. We will continue to strive to use all our possibilities as much as possible.
I am confident that this auspicious year will give even greater impetus to the further deepening and development of relations between Kazakhstan and India and our strategic partnership will rise to an even higher level, filled with new meaning and content for the sake of the friendship and prosperity of the peoples of the two countries.
Long live the Kazakh-Indian friendship!
*Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Republic of India
Photo 1: Astana Times
Photo 2: Embassy of Kazakhstan