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Nuclear deal with Kazakhstan soon: Krishna

India and Kazakhstan will soon finalise a civilian nuclear agreement, which will facilitate Indian investments in mining and supply of uranium from the central Asian nation, Foreign Minister SM Krishna said here Wednesday.



Astana, Kazakhstan: India and Kazakhstan will soon finalise a civilian nuclear agreement, which will facilitate Indian investments in mining and supply of uranium from the central Asian nation, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here Wednesday.

"I am confident that an Inter-governmental Agreement on Civilian Nuclear Energy cooperation will be finalized soon," Krishna said at a joint press conference with his Kazakh counterpart, Kanat Saudabayev.

Listing the possible areas of cooperation in civilian nuclear area, Krishna said: "This sector has immense possibilities for bilateral cooperation, including for supply of uranium ore, investment by Indian companies in mining in Kazakhstan, construction of nuclear reactors and others."

Kazakhstan is the world`s second largest producer of uranium after Australia. Australia has refused to supply uranium to India saying it cannot supply the strategic mineral to countries like India which have not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

Krishna, who arrived on a three-day visit to Kazakhstan Tuesday, will meet President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Karim Massimov later Wednesday. President Nazarbayev was the chief guest at India`s Republic Day celebrations in 2009.

Krishna also expressed optimism about the deepening of cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

"I am confident that an agreement between ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and KazMunaiGas on exploration and production in the Satpayev Oil Block will be concluded soon," he said.
He also referred to thermal power, transportation and banking as other sectors where discussion on cooperation are in an advanced stage. "For instance, a premier Indian Bank - Punjab National Bank - will soon commence commercial operations in Kazakhstan," Krishna said.

Krishna said he and Saudabayev conducted a "comprehensive review" of bilateral relations in all spheres, including strategic affairs.
The minister thanked Kazakhstan for its "steady support" to India`s campaign for a permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.

IANS

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