India and Kazakhstan on Wednesday inched closer to inking two crucial bilateral agreements, including a key civil nuclear deal, as they agreed to deepen cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.
External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, who is on a three-day visit to Kazakhstan, held discussions on a deal for civilian nuclear cooperation with his counterpart Kanat B Saudavayeb.
"I am pleased to say that India and Kazakhstan have a strong congruence of views on major regional and international issues," External Affairs Minster SM Krishna said at a joint press interaction along with Saudabayev.
Krishna, who arrived in Astana on Tuesday, said very good progress has been achieved during discussions to deepen cooperation in all sectors like hydrocarbons, oil and civilian nuclear energy.
The Indian leader also met Prime Minister Karim K Massimov and President Nursultan Abishyevich Nazarbayev.
There are technical discussions taking place between both the sides on a civilian nuclear cooperation and they are close to completion.
"We are close to finding a final umbrella agreement on the civilian nuclear cooperation. It is a win-win situation for both the countries," Lata Reddy, Secretary East, Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters after the meetings.
As part of the deepening cooperation, India will look for supply of natural uranium, investments by Indian companies in mining and construction and supply of small nuclear reactors with Indian technology.
India said its relationship with Kazakhstan was based on a strong congruence of views on major international and regional issues, including terrorism, but accepted that the level of bilateral trade is much below potential.
"I am pleased to say that India and Kazakhstan have a strong congruence of views on major regional and international issues. Both our countries are strongly opposed to terrorism," Krishna said.
Regarding cooperation in the oil sector, Reddy said the government was happy with the progress of discussions on India's participation in the Satpayev oil block.
India has already signed an umbrella agreement for this purpose during President Nazarbayev's visit to New Delhi in January 2009.
"We have been assured of an internal agreement between the Kazakhstan oil ministry and the Indian Petroleum ministry after which and agreement would be signed between ONGC Videsh and the Kazakh oil company," the official said.