India, Kazakhstan in civil nuclear, oil exploration pacts

India today signed a civil nuclear agreement with Kazakhsthan, perhaps its first as a supplier country after the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG) ended its 34-year-old isolation in 2008.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh meeting the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, at Astana, in Kazakhstan

India and Kazakhstan also signed some other agreements, including cooperation in the exploration of oil and gas and mutual legal assistance.

The agreements were signed following talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev in the Khazak capital of Astana.

The civil nuclear cooperation agreement envisages broad-based cooperation between the two countries in areas like nuclear research, technology transfer and exploration of uranium in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is known to have one of the richest reserves of uranium, the nuclear fuel that India is badly in need of for its ambitious nuclear power programme.

Kazakhstan is already a major supplier of uranium to India. Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) had, in 2009, signed an agreement with Kazakh nuclear company KazAtomProm during the visit of Kazakh president Nazarbaev to Delhi.