Both India and Kazakhstan share common perceptions about the need to have friendship and mutually advantageous bilateral relations. India recognised the independence of Kazakhstan in 1992 and visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh marks the 20th anniversary of friendship of both the countries. In order to strengthen their diplomatic ties several high level visits between India and Kazakhstan have been exchanged on a regular basis. India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission established in 1992 has been instrumental in developing bilateral trade, economic, scientific, technological, industrial and cultural cooperation.
India was the first country outside Commonwealth Independent States CIS region visited by President Nazarbayev after independence of Kazakhstan. This visit in 1992 followed by visit of Prime Minister of India Narsimha Rao in 1993, which gave impetus to India- Kazakhstan relations.
In pursuance of the State Visit of President Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev to New Delhi in January 2009 and the adopted Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Republic of India and Republic of Kazakhstan, it was agreed to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Discussions are currently underway for cooperation in fields of fertilizers production, setting up of petrochemical complex, thermal power plants, Entrepreneurship Development center etc. Agreements in the fields of Agriculture, Health, Culture, Science and Technology and Education etc are currently under consideration by both sides. As many as 50 delegations from India mostly in the business sector visited Kazakhstan during in 2009 including CII and FICCI led delegations. The 4th Joint Business Council between FICCI and Kazakh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) was held in Almaty in October 2009.
Kazakhstan is supportive of India's permanent membership to UNSC. Kazakhstan also cooperates with India in the field of counter terrorism and had condemned the Mumbai attacks in 2008. India and Kazakhstan actively cooperate under the aegis of Multilateral Fora including CICA, Sanghai Cooperation Organisation SCO and the UN organizations. India has been a consistent supporter of Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and is actively participating in the process. CICA is the only Central Asian forum of which India is a member. India was admitted as Observer in the SCO Summit held in July 2005 in Astana.
The nuclear agreement will be among at least six pacts that the two countries are expected to sign during the two-day visit of Prime Minister. Prime Minister Dr. Singh will be first foreign dignitary visiting Astana after regaining of power by the President Nazarbayev and his trip will be the first Prime Ministerial visit to the country in eight years.
India and Kazakhstan have an agreement on Visa free entry for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders. An Extradition Treaty was signed during the visit of President Nazarbayev in January 2009. New Delhi has provided training to more than 700 specialists from Kazakhstan since 1992 under The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation. Similarly there are 200 India students in Kazakhstan most of them are studying medicine at Almaty and Karaganda and Semey Medical Academies.
Sunil Shukla, AIR Correspondent, from Kazakhstan