PM heads home, concluding Kazakhstan, China visit



Astana: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday flew back home, ending his five-day visit to China and Kazakhstan during which he attended the crucial summit meeting of BRICS leaders, and concluded agreements with Astana in the field of civil nuclear energy and oil sector.

The Prime Minister concluded his two-day visit to Astana today, during which India and Kazakhstan signed seven pacts, including a framework agreement in civil nuclear field and a stake-sharing accord in oil sector.

The USD 400 million package of three energy agreements signed between ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) and Kazakhstan's national company Kazmunaigas (KMG) included one for acquisition of 25 per cent stake in the Satpayev exploration block in the Caspian Sea.

At wide-ranging talks between Singh and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, the two sides also decided to work for pushing the bilateral trade, which was currently as low as USD 300 million, through engagement of governments and business communities and diversifying to non-oil sectors like pharma, agriculture and IT.

On the first leg of his two-nation visit, Singh in China, attended the BRICS Summit along with Presidents of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, who together came up with a declaration voicing opposition to the use of force in Libya, and calling for a reform of the United Nations Security Council.

At the BRICS summit in in the southern Chinese city of Sanya, Singh pushed for closer cooperation, particularly in the field of economy among the five fast emerging nations.

During its third annual summit, attended by South Africa for the first time, BRICS took a significant step towards enhancing economic cooperation when the member countries signed an agreement under which they will be able to provide credit to each other in local currencies and collaborate in capital markets and other financial services.

Prime Minister Singh also held bilateral talks with Brazilian President Dilma Roussef, Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Jacob Zuma.

In Sanya, Singh also met Chinese President Hu Jintao during which it was decided that India will send a military delegation to China later this year, marking resumption of high level defence exchanges, which had been suspended in last July after China denied proper visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal.

PTI