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India – Kazakhstan Relations

India – Kazakhstan Relations

Why in news?

  • Recently, the Defense Minister of India held bilateral talks with the Defense Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan in New Delhi.
  • The two Ministers had last met in Moscow (Russia) in September 2020 on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting.

Highlights of the Talks

  • Exchanged views to further strengthen bilateral defense cooperation, including through training, defense exercises and capacity building.
  • Agreed that both sides must look at the possibility of defense industrial collaboration of mutual interest.
  • Assessed the annual joint military exercise KAZIND.
  • Kazakhstan thanked India for the opportunity given to the Kazakh troops for deployment as part of the Indian battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

India – Kazakhstan Relations Background

  • Relations between India and Kazakhstan are ancient and historical going back to more than 2000 years.
  • There has been a constant and regular flow of trade in goods and, more importantly, exchange of ideas and cultural influences.
  • The flow of Buddhism from India to Central Asia and Sufi ideas from Central Asia to India are two such examples.

Political Relations

  • India was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan.
  • Diplomatic relations were established in February 1992.
  • The Embassy of India was opened in Almaty in May 1992 and the Embassy of Kazakhstan in New Delhi in 1993.
  • The capital of Kazakhstan was shifted from Almaty to Astana in 1997. Subsequently, the Embassy of India opened its Representative Office in Astana on September 15, 2003. The Embassy moved to Astana in November 2007 and Representative Office to Almaty.
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in the 17th SCO Summit in Astana on June 8-9, 2017. India was admitted as a full member of the SCO during the Summit.
  • India and Kazakhstan actively cooperate under the aegis of Multilateral Fora including CICA, SCO and the UN organizations.
  • India has been a consistent supporter of Kazakhstan’s initiative on Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and is actively participating in the process.
  • Kazakhstan supports India’s permanent membership in an expanded UNSC and has extended its support for India’s non-permanent membership in 2021-22.
  • India supported Kazakhstan’s successful candidature for non-permanent membership of UNSC in 2017-18.

Defense cooperation

  • India and Kazakhstan have developed close collaboration in fighting religious terrorism an extremism, as well as in promoting regional security.
  • A joint memorandum signed in December 2002 enabled joint projects such as training military officers, developing joint military-industrial projects and establishing a partnership between the defense industries of India and Kazakhstan.                    India – Kazakhstan Relations
  • The Indo-Kazakh Defense Cooperation is carried out under the framework of an agreement on ‘Defense and Military Technical Cooperation’ signed in July 2015 during the visit of Hon’ble PM to Kazakhstan on 08 July 2015.
  • India has also provided support and emerged as a partner in Kazakhstan’s bid to develop a naval fleet in the Caspian Sea, despite opposition from Kazakhstan’s northern neighbor, Russia.
  • The two countries held the Prabal Dostyk joint military exercises in Kazakhstan in 2016 and the Himachal Pradesh region in 2017.

Trade And Economy Cooperation

  • Several Joint Working Groups (JWGs) have been established in the areas of Counter Terrorism, Trade & Economic Cooperation, Defense & Military Technical Cooperation, Information Technology, Hydrocarbons, Textiles, Tea Debt and Space Cooperation, Health and Transport, Connectivity & Logistics to take forward bilateral relations in the respective spheres.
  • The India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) established in 1993 is the apex bilateral institutional mechanism for developing trade, economic, scientific, technological, industrial and cultural cooperation between the two countries.                    India – Kazakhstan Relations
  • Kazakhstan is India’s largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia.

Space Cooperation

  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched “Al-Farabi-1”, a 1.7 kg Technology Demonstrator Nano Satellite built by Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty along with 103 other satellites in 2017.
  • A delegation from ISRO attended Kazakh Defence Expo ‘KADEX’ in May 2018.

Civil Nuclear Cooperation

  • Kazakhstan supported India in obtaining India-specific exemption to allow civil nuclear cooperation with Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) countries in 2008.

Significance of Kazakhstan to India

  • There are three factors which make Kazakhstan important for India.
    • First, its geo-strategic location;
    • Second, its economic potential, especially in terms of energy resources; and
    • Third, its multi-ethnic and secular structure.
  • Kazakhstan’s geo-political existence between Russia and Asia, along with long borders with China, makes it a country of great strategic importance.
  • Kazakhstan can also help India achieve a geostrategic rebalancing with China. India’s foremost objective is countering the rapid economic inroads China is making in the region through the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.
  • Kazakhstan has become one of the key activists in the field of global nuclear security, and has achieved a number of results in peacekeeping policies and the resolution of conflicts around Nagorno-Karabakh, Iran, Ukraine and Syria.                            India – Kazakhstan Relations

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