India-Central Asia Relations - January 2019

With bilateral trade between India and Kazakhstan crossing US$1 billion, both countries are exploring potential of new products. Immense possibilities exist in sectors like agricultural products, food processing, pharmaceuticals, energy and chemicals. Kazakhstan is India’s largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia and is its third largest partner in the entire post-Soviet region.

Ahead of expected visit of Kazakh President Nazarbayev to India in 2019 when several agreements are likely to be signed, the two countries are working to deepen their cooperation in energy, logistics, information technologies, space, pharmaceuticals, tourism and film making.

India and Kazakhstan are keen on deepening cooperation in trade and investment, defence and security, energy, Information and Communications Technology, pharma, capacity building and culture, joint film production and cinematography. In addition to importing pharmaceuticals and medical products, coffee and tea, machinery, apparel and chemical products from India, Kazakhstan is keen to buy wind turbines, agricultural machinery, Indian marble, spices, fruits and more tea.

Gujarat-based companies are actively exploring investment opportunities in pharmaceuticals and textile sectors in Uzbekistan. To attract investments, Uzbek-Indian Free Pharmaceutical Zone is being developed in Andijan region. Apart from providing infrastructure facilities such as roads, electricity and water supply, tax incentives are being offered to companies. In addition, companies with manufacturing base in Uzbekistan get duty free access to other CIS countries.  Milk products, solar energy, jewellery and auto components are other prominent potential areas for Indian companies.  Uzbekistan signed an agreement for direct partnership between Gujarat and Andijan region and became a partner country for the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.  

Swedish-Swiss ABB and Indian Kalpa-Taru Power Transmission will construct Tajik segment of Kyrgyz-Tajik-led CASA-1000 power transmission project. The project’s goal is to construct 1,200 kms of electricity transmission lines to create a four-country electricity transfer system. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will supply 1,300MW of power to Pakistan during summer months. 

Indian company, Synthite Industries Ltd- plans to implement a project for cultivation and processing of pepper in Uzbekistan. Pepper has been selected as an experimental crop for this initiative. Total investment is estimated at around US$ 4 million.

India and Uzbekistan signed an Agreement to strengthen cooperation in development of space technologies, earth observation, satellite communications, positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services, and space exploration and science research. They will create a joint working group to plan activities for implementation of agreement.

Negotiations are progressing between space agencies of India and Kazakhstan on possibility of developing a space satellite KazSat-2R. Space is a major sector where Kazakhstan is keen to work with India. There exists a bilateral agreement related to space research.

India and Kazakhstan are working on next fourth edition of joint military exercise Kaz-IND 2019. Since majority of weapon systems in Indian Armed Forces are of Soviet era, there is scope of joint ventures with Kazakh companies for production of torpedoes and related systems for Indian Navy. Kazakh companies also have expertise for Indian Army and Air Force. 


January 21, 2019

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About the Author

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar

Former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia; President, Institute of Global Studies and Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar belongs to the Indian Foreign Service and has acquitted his responsibilities in the diplomatic service for 34 years. He was Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia and has worked in senior diplomatic positions in Indian Embassies/Missions in Washington DC, Brussels, Moscow, Geneva, Tehran, Dhaka and Bangkok and also at Headquarters in India. He negotiated for India in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and in negotiations for India-EU, India-ASEAN and India-Thailand Free Trade Agreements.

He contributed significantly to strengthening strategic ties and promoting cultural cooperation between India and USA, EU, Russia and other countries.Ambassador Sajjanhar worked as head of National Foundation for Communal Harmony to promote amity and understanding between different religions, faiths and beliefs. Ambassador Sajjanhar has been decorated by Governments of Kazakhstan and Latvia with their National Awards and by Universal Peace Federation with Title of ''Ambassador of Peace.'' Currently Ambassador Sajjanhar is President of Institute of Global Studies, New Delhi. He writes, travels and speaks extensively on issues relating to international relations, foreign policy and themes of contemporary relevance and significance. He appears widely on TV panel discussions. Ambassador Sajjanhar is interested in reading, music and travelling. His wife Madhu is an economist and an educationist. They have a son and a daughter both of who are accomplished singers. Their son passed out of Yale University and their daughter is pursuing her PhD at University of Minnesota.