Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed two-day visit to Kazakhstan in the first week of July, two ministerial delegations from Kazakhstan are in New Delhi presently to firm up the agenda for that bilateral trip.
Interacting with select media here, a senior representative of one of Kazakhstan’s key investment-related institutions, said Kazakhstan’s Investment and Development Minister Asset Issekeshev is in town for delegation-level talks with key ministries and officials of the Indian Government on bilateral investment opportunities.
Borisbiy Zhangurasov, Executive Chairman of Kaznex Invest, said that the delegation comprises of key industrialists and businessmen of Kazakhstan.
He also informed that Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik is also in the Indian capital for inter-governmental commission talks with his Indian counterpart Dharmendra Pradhan, with a focus on ways to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector.
Zhangurasov further revealed that so far the interactions between Kazakh and Indian officials have been efficient, and added that the purpose of this short visit to India was to improve the investment climate between the two nations.
The Kaznex Investment Executive Chairman said that during Prime Minister Modi’s expected visit to Kazakhstan on July 7 and 8, he expected at least 20 bilateral memoranda of understanding worth in excess of two billion dollars to be inked. He, however, said that a confirmed statistical figure would be available in the public domain after the two meetings being held in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Zhangurasov and Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to India Bulat Sarsenbayev informed that it was the objective of President NUrsultan Nazarbayev to make Kazakhstan the investment hub for the Central Asian and the Eurasian regions.
And, a key part of this goal, they said, was the realisation of five institutional reforms namely — (1) Formation of a modern, professional and independent public service that ensures high-quality implementation of economic programmes and delivery of public services; (2) Transition from the five-level justice system (first, appeal, cassation, supervising and re-supervising) to a three-level (first, appeal and cassation) system. The aim is to strengthen foreign and domestic investors’ trust in Kazakhstan’s court system; (3) To attract strategic investors to the country’s agricultural sector that is lagging behind the industrial and services branches of economy; (4) Establishing the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) with a status significantly different enough that it may require introducing amendments into the nation’s Constitution. Those maybe justified by a need to introduce a separate judicial system in the AIFC based largely on the English law and the use of English as “an official language” of the centre, along with Kazakh and Russian. The design of the centre, similar to one used in Dubai, would turn Astana into a major “financial hub for the Commonwealth of Independent States and West Asia and (5) Creation of an accountable government where the heads of public bodies will report annually to the general public on the achievements of their agencies. This will include the concept of “open government”.
Zhangurasov said that Kazakhstan was now in the fifth year of its industrialisation programme, and very focussed on six priority areas such as machinery, petrochemicals, food processing, fertilisers, mining and pharmaceuticals.
The Kaznex Investment Executive Chairman said that he has found the Indian private sector to very energetic and efficient, and believed that thre is huge potential for bilateral cooperation. As far as the Government of India was concerned, he said, that from the Kazakh perspective, the leadership of Prime Minister Modi has ensured the fruition of some very successful deals in the recent past.
Kazakhstan, he said, is looking at companies that are in the global 2000 list. On the 2017 Expo to be held in Astana, Zhangurasov said the focus of that event would be primarily on ways to achieve clean energy, and in this regard, he added that Kazakhstan is aware of India’s interest.
On Monday, a Kazakh delegation of the Ministry of Energy deliberated on ways for mutual collaboration with India in the mining sector.
The Indian side reportedly conveyed its desire to be proactive in facilitating collaboration between governments and industries to foster mutual growth and industrial development.
The Indian side was represented by Secretary (Mines) Anup K Pujari, Additional Secretary (Mines) AS Sridharan, CMD, NMDC, N Kothari, senior officers from the Ministry of Steel and representatives from steel and mines PSUs.
The Kazakhstan team was led by Ambassador Sarsenbayev, and included senior government officials of Kazakhstan and heads of industry.
It is being reported that the National Minerals Development Corporation is keen to undertake greenfield project exploration in Kazakhstan, especially in iron ore, coal and potash.
The Kazakhstan side highlighted its desire for greater rail connectivity, via Iran, to the port of Bandar Abbas, which would solve all issues pertaining to transportation of minerals, hitherto caused by poor connectivity.
Energy Minister Issekeshev apprised Indian officials of Kazakhstan being richly endowed in copper, zinc, gold, iron ore, tungsten and other such minerals.