India Inc. keen to invest in Kazakhstan
| Ashok Dixit - 12 Nov 2018

India Inc. keen to invest in Kazakhstan

By Ashok Dixit

New Delhi: A three-day Kazakh-Indian Invest Forum held here from November 12 to 14 concluded this evening with India Inc. representatives expressing a keen desire to undertake visits to Kazakhstan to take advantage of a positive and energetic investment environment in Central Asia’s largest country in terms of geographical expanse.

Wednesday’s plenary session organised by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in collaboration with Kazakh Invest and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) saw corporate honchos of both countries interacting actively on areas of mutual interest, including agriculture, information technology, energy, mining, health and pharmaceuticals to name a few.

Leading lights of corporate India and Kazakhstan described Kazakhstan as an exciting investment destination and believed that with the unequivocal support of the political leaderships of the two countries, the sky was the limit in terms of exploring opportunities and potential for doing business.

Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to India Bulat Sarsenbayev highlighted the main areas of cooperation and outlined prospective areas of bilateral cooperation going forward.

“This forum provides both countries with an opportunity for receiving more information on business potential in Kazakhstan. We have had two days of B2B meetings, which were very intensive and cooperative in nature. I have myself learnt a lot about the investment climate in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is ready to cooperate,” Ambassador Sarsenbayev said.

Heads and representatives of more than 10 leading companies of Kazakhstan, representatives of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of External Affairs of India and representatives of more than 50 large Indian business companies were also informed about the growth dynamics of this cooperation.

Mr. Saparbek Tuyakbayev, Chairman of the Board of JSC Kazakh Invest, gave a detailed presentation about the investment climate in his country and prospects for implementation of business projects from an Indian context.

“I would like tell you that the best time to visit and invest in Kazakhstan is now. Ten years ago, it was not so. Because of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), we have significant access to huge markets in Russia, China and Central Asia. Kazakhstan is presently enjoying economic stability and our expectations are growing. We welcome this phase and can offer/provide all required facilities to promote and ensure mutually beneficial growth,” Tuyakbayev said.

He also spoke of priority new projects being undertaken by the Government of Kazakhstan in areas such as hospitals, railways and roads, and welcomed cooperation from India in this regard.

Mr. Manish Prabhat, Joint Secretary (Eurasia) in the Ministry of External Affairs, highlighted the excellent historical and political links between the two countries going back to two millennia.

He said that both India and Kazakhstan are strategic partners in many spheres of common interest, but there was a need felt by governments of both countries to raise the existing one billion dollar trade turnover.

Prabhat also appreciated the fact that Kazakhstan is now more than ever in privatization mode which was a positive development. He called for more road shows and greater connectivity between India and Central Asia.

He also said that it is heartening to see Kazakhstan coming forward to seek the Indian experience in e-governance, adding that there is no dearth of resources and lots of potential for exploration.

Bidyut Behari Swain, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, spoke about the immense scope for trade and the need for both governments to identify trade barriers, especially in the non-tariff category.

He also said that India and Kazakhstan need mutually beneficial two-way trade given the exceptional work being done at present.

Sandeep Somany, President elect of FICCI, said India and Kazakhstan are promising economies with huge potential, and rising in global rankings. He called for enhanced cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure, information technology, people-to-people contacts and connectivity between Indian states and Kazakh provinces.

Indian businessmen showed interest in the fields of agriculture, mining, engineering, telecommunications and health etc.

The three-day meeting saw agreements being reached on the joint implementation of several projects, including one with the GMR Group in Aero-City, logistics and transport hub projects, NTPC, Shalimar Valves, CG Group, Artemis Hospitals and Venkys Poultry.

Kazakhstan currently ranks 36th in the global “Ease of Doing Business 2018” report, confirming its attractiveness for foreign direct investment.

Kazakhstan has developed an attractive business environment, providing with the highest level of comfort for flourishing businesses (exemption from VAT up to 10 years, reimbursement of up to 30 per cent of the cost of construction and installation work, exemption from customs duties up to 15 years etc.).

Increase in income and quality of life over the past 20 years has raised USD 300 billion in direct foreign investment, said Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in a State of the Nation address last month.

The volume of foreign direct investments injected into the Kazakh economy rose by 15.4 per cent in six months in 2018; the figure is estimated at USD 12.3 billion compared to USD 10.5 billion during the same period in 2017. Kazakhstan tops Central Asian countries in terms of attracted investments, accounting for more than 70 per cent of all foreign direct investments into the region.

Diplomatic relations between India and Kazakhstan were established 26 years ago and the partnership between the two countries is based on cultural and historical affinity. Bilateral cooperation was raised to the strategic level in January 2009 during the visit of President Nazarbayev to India.

Currently, Kazakhstan and India enjoy cooperation in a wide range of areas, including space, military-technical cooperation, information technology, Fintech, oil, gas, banking etc. Tengri Bank (Almaty), whose shareholder is Punjab National Bank (49 per cent), has opened more than 80 accounts of Indian companies during the last two years. Kazakhstan is also one of the main suppliers of uranium to India.

This business invest forum has, therefore, served as a point for increasing bilateral trade turnover by two or three times.

 

(The writer Ashok Dixit is a senior journalist with 24 years of rich cross-editorial functional experience in covering and reporting on developments in South Asia. He had been associated with ANI as a Senior Editor for more than two decades. He can be contacted at ashok.dixit26@gmail.com)

Tags:

Indian Ministry of External Affairs; Seaports of Mumbai; Kolkata; Mudra; Chennai; ASSOCHAM; FICCI; Indian importers; North-South Transport Corridor Project; India and Kazakhstan; JSC Kazakhstan; Temir Zholy Express (KTZ); Nursultan Nazarbayev; Kazakhstan; Turkmenistan; Iran and India; Dias Iskakov; President of KTZ Express; V. Jhunjharia; Tuberose Logistics; Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to India Bulat Sarsenbayev;

 


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