New Delhi: India and Kazakhstan on Tuesday agreed to carry forward their civil nuclear cooperation beyond 2014, the deadline for the supply of fuel for the reactors as per the present nuclear contract, with the uranium-rich nation assuring to help meet the "big appetite" of energy-deficient India.
The two sides also discussed projects of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), which has already acquired 25 per cent stake in the Satpayev Oil Block in the Caspian Sea, with India seeking Kazakhstan`s support for an important bid that OVL is making for a stake in the Kashagan oil field.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Kazakh counterpart Erlan Idrissov held comprehensive talks on various regional and international issues of mutual interest and reviewed status of bilateral ties in key areas of defence, civil nuclear energy and hydrocarbons.
"We hold similar views on most pressing global problems. We agreed that the menace of international terrorism has to be fought by the international community collectively and that we must also make bilateral efforts in this direction," Khurshid said at a joint press conference with Idrissov.
They also discussed ways to enhance civil nuclear cooperation with Idrissov noting that the agreement inked by two sides for supply of fuel till 2014 was being implemented.
"Therefore, we are looking beyond that," the visiting dignitary said while noting that the Chairman of Kazakh nuclear company KazAtomProm was part of his delegation and he held discussions with his counterpart here.
India and Kazakhstan already have civil nuclear cooperation since January 2009 when NPCIL and Kazakh nuclear company KazAtomProm signed an MoU under which KazAtomProm supplies uranium for Indian reactors.
India has 20 operating nuclear units with five more, including a fast breeder, under construction. Another 39 are planned or firmly proposed. However, the country has only modest indigenous uranium resources.
In 2010, the NPCIL reported that it had imported some 868 tonnes of uranium so far that year, including 300 tonnes of natural uranium from Kazakh nuclear company KazAtomProm.
Kazakhstan, on the other hand, has 15 per cent of the world`s uranium resources and became the leading uranium- producing country in 2009.