India Courts a Distant Kazakhstan

By Rupakjyoti Borah

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Apr 15-16 revisit to Kazakhstan noted an critical step brazen in India’s ties with a rising Central Asian nation. Relations between a dual countries have gained movement given Jan 2009, when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was a arch guest during India’s Republic Day celebrations.

India and Kazakhstan determined tactful family in Feb 1992, with then-Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao profitable a revisit to Kazakhstan in 1993. Prior to his 2009 visit, Nazarbayev had visited India in 1996 and 2002.

In a certain development, Singh and Nazarbayev sealed a “Joint Action Plan” on furthering a vital partnership between a dual countries by 2014 during Singh’s visit. The devise envisages team-work in a operation of areas including hydrocarbons, municipal chief energy, pharmaceuticals, health, agriculture, space, information technology, cybersecurity, high-tech and innovative record and informative exchanges. But a good news can't problematic a fact that trade ties between a dual countries are disappointing, during best. Bilateral trade stood during around $314 million in 2010, an boost of around 24 percent over a 2009 figure of $253 million.

Nevertheless, ties with Kazakhstan have taken on essential significance for India.

First, Kazakhstan has 15 percent of a world’s uranium deposits and skeleton to furnish 25,000 tons of uranium this year. Setting aside concerns stemming from a chief collision during Japan’s Fukushima chief plant, India and Kazakhstan sealed an agreement on “Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy” during a visit. The dual countries have been concerned in polite chief cooperation given Jan 2009, when Kazakhstan’s KazAtomProm and India’s Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited sealed a chit of understanding. KazAtomProm now reserve uranium for use in India’s reactors.

Kazakhstan’s uranium reserve take on combined significance for India in light of New Delhi’s desirous skeleton to boost a chief appetite prolongation from a benefaction 3,700 megawatts — 3 percent of a appetite needs — to 20,000 megawatts by 2020. Australia, with roughly 40 percent of a world’s uranium deposits, has refused to supply uranium to India until New Delhi signs a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Second, Kazakhstan can also assistance accommodate India’s burgeoning oil demand. India’s 2010-2011 inhabitant mercantile survey predicts that a nation will declare expansion of around 8.6 percent during this period. To say such a dizzying pace, India will need a continual supply of appetite resources. One of a vital outcomes of Singh’s Kazakhstan outing was a inking of a corner scrutiny understanding between India’s state-owned oil association ONGC-Videsh and Kazakhstan’s inhabitant oil behemoth KazMunaiGas that will give ONGC-Videsh a 25 percent seductiveness in a Satpaev oil retard in a Caspian basin. This 572-square-mile scrutiny retard lies in a Kazakh zone of a oil-rich Caspian Sea and is in tighten vicinity to vital discoveries.

Third, New Delhi is perplexing to captivate Astana divided from Beijing’s parsimonious grip. In this, India will be helped by a clever people-to-people ties already determined between India and Kazakhstan. Notably, Bollywood has played a partial in compelling India’s soothing appetite in Kazakhstan, with many a Bollywood luminary enjoying a outrageous following in Kazakhstan, and many comparison Kazakhs still sentimental about Raj Kapoor and Nargis, Bollywood stars who died in a 1980s.

Fourth, Kazakhstan has taken over a chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), to that India has already been postulated spectator standing and would like to benefit full membership. Reflecting Kazakhstan’s increasingly pivotal role in a organization, it will horde a SCO leaders limit in Astana in June. For India to be certified to a group, Kazakhstan’s subsidy will be essential.

Finally, a competition between India and China for appetite resources has widespread to Central Asia, with China enjoying a poignant conduct start. A understanding to build a long-discussed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India tube was sealed in December, though a plan continues to face poignant obstacles, including confidence risks in Afghanistan and India’s privacy about a appetite reserve transiting Pakistan. By contrast, a Atasu-Alashankou tube transporting oil from Kazakhstan into China’s Xinjiang range is already operational. Meanwhile, China’s Guangdong Nuclear Power Group and Kazakhstan’s KazAtomProm concluded on a understanding that will see Kazakhstan sell adult to 55,000 tons of uranium to China over a subsequent 10 years — assembly roughly half of China’s fuel mandate for chief power.

For a part, Kazakhstan has shown an seductiveness in nurturing ties with India. Unlike China, it has lent a undeniable support to India’s query for a permanent chair in an stretched United Nations Security Council. An successful member of a Organisation of a Islamic Conference, Kazakhstan cursed a 2008 Mumbai apprehension attacks. And Kazakhstan has sought India’s assistance in a bid to join a World Trade Organisation.

With China developing ports and intensity bases in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar — all countries that New Delhi considers fibbing in a globe of seductiveness — India is in a approach returning a enrich in Kazakhstan. As India gets prepared to play a larger purpose on a general stage, a ties with formerly apart countries, like Kazakhstan, will turn increasingly important.
Dr. Rupakjyoti Borah is a comparison techer in a Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University. He was a visiting associate during a Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge, U.K., in 2009. The views voiced here are his own.