NEW DELHI: India and Kazakhstan today discussed deepening cooperation in oil and gas sector as well as expanding the International North-South Transport Corridor by linking it to the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan-led a delegation to Astana for the India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC), which is co-chaired by Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev. During the meeting, the two discussed “ideas for stepping up the cooperation in energy sector, trade, economic, investment, transport and connectivity, agriculture, information technology, space, healthcare and cultural spheres between the two countries”, an official statement said here. The two sides discussed “the possibilities of expanding cooperation in exploration and production of hydrocarbons and investments in infrastructure projects in oil and gas sector”. ONGC Videsh Ltd owns a 25 per cent stake in the Satpayev oilfield in the Caspian Sea. In the nuclear energy sector, the two sides agreed to work on application of nuclear science in the areas of health and agriculture. “They explored possibility of expanding the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) by linking it to the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link,” it said. INSTC is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail and road route for moving freight between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia. The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road.
India and Kazakh also agreed to develop and deepen bilateral relations in the field of agriculture, mining and civil aviation sector. Kazakhstan is strategically located between Europe and Asia and offers enormous business opportunities for investments. The country is rich in mineral resources, such as uranium, oil and natural gas. “Both leaders agreed to collaborate in the oil and gas sector for mutual benefit and further strengthen the engagement by addressing issues of concerns to Indian investors, particularly in Kazakh hydrocarbon sector,” the statement said. Bozumbayev invited Indian investments in various sectors particularly in the hydrocarbon sector, infrastructure, peaceful use of nuclear energy, co-production of films, cooperation in food processing and Information Technology. Both sides exchanged lists containing priority export items, the statement said without elaborating.