PM arrives in Kazakh capital

Astana: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here on Friday on a two-day visit during which India and Kazakhstan are expected to sign an inter-governmental framework agreement on civil nuclear cooperation.

Singh is in the Kazakh capital as part of his two-nation tour, which earlier took him to Sanya in China, where he attended the summit of Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping.

The Prime Minister will discuss with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev ways to enhance two-way trade and forging closer physical connectivity.

The inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy will be among at least six pacts that the two countries are expected to sign during Singh`s two-day visit as part of an endeavour to consolidate the strategic partnership put in place in 2009.

India and Kazakhstan already have civil nuclear cooperation since January 2009 when Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Kazakh nuclear company KazAtomProm signed an MoU during the visit of Nazarbaev to Delhi.

Under the contract, KazAtomProm supplies uranium which is used by Indian reactors.

Singh arrived here after a three-day stay in Sanya during which he also held bilateral talks with the Presidents of China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa.

At the third BRICS summit in Sanya, Singh pushed for closer cooperation, particularly in the field of economy, among the five fast emerging nations.