Governor to discuss business prospects with Kazakhstan
Kolkata, 18 November (HS) Ambassador of Kazakhstan in India Yerlan Alimbayev will meet West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar at Raj Bhavan here tomorrow to discuss various issues on how to improve the volume of bilateral trade between his country and Eastern India,particularly West Bengal, by using the Kolkata and Haldia ports for direct shipment of goods.
Participating in an interactive session on 'Doing Business with Kazakhstan', organised by the city's premier Merchants' Chamber of Commerce and Industry(MCCI) here this afternoon, Alimbayev said during his proposed discussions with the Governor, a number of Memorandum of Understandings(MOUs) could also be signed to explore the possibilities of doing more business in the Mining,Food Processing and Tourism sectors between Kazakhstan and West Bengal having vast natural resources and intelligent human capital.
Replying to a query from Hindusthan Samachar during interaction he said though the current volume of trade between the two countries had reached 1 billion USD during the first eight months of this year, it was 'all set to touch the figure of 1.5 billion USD by March next(2020) before crossing an all time high figure of 4 billion USD BY 2023'.
On whether any possibility of meeting Chief minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss similar issues since after assuming the office of the Ambassador of Kazakhstan in India last month, he had already called on Gujarat Chief minister and very recently Maharashtra Governor for very fruitful discussions, Alimbayev said though he wanted to call on her too, she was not available for the same because of her urgent preoccupations elsewhere in the state.
Earlier in his speech the Ambassador said Kazakhstan was the largest supplier of enriched uranium to India and had so far supplies 9,000 tonnes of uranium to India till date. 'Going forward, we will supply 1,000 tonnes of uranium every year to India to meet its requirements',he said.
Referring to the rather difficult business connectivity between India and the land locked country of Kazakhstan he said following the completion of the proposed North- South Transport Corridor within the next couple of years, the problem would be greatly solved.
As the railway connection is coming up at Chabahar Port in Iran by next year, the required travel time between the two countries will fall short from 35 days to 12 days under the Kazakhstan - Turkmenistan - Iran - India route.With Bandar Abbas on the Southern Coast of Iran already functioning the proposed corridor had now become more useful for India, he said.
Claiming that the World Bank had recently placed Kazakhstan at 25 out of 190 nations in Ease of Doing Business, Ambassador Alimbayev said Kazakhstan had so far attracted over 300 billion USD as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). 'In 2018, the country received 24 billion USD in FDI out of the 27 billion USD that went into the Central Asian region', he informed.
About the connectivity between the two countries through flights, the Kazakh envoy said currently New Delhi and Almaty were connected by two daily flights and plans were underway to introduce Mumbai - Almaty direct flight too by next year. 'We are also exploring the possibility of introducing direct flights with Kolkata too', he said replying to another query from HS.
About 100,000 tourists visited Kazakhstan from India last year including only about 8,000 as transit passengers,he said adding the period of non visa stay for Indians in Kazakhstan would soon be increased from 72 hours to 120 hours by his Government.
Later,Aigul Nuralina, the Regional Director,Kazakh Invest National Company gave a PowerPoint presentation on the business prospects of her country.
Earlier, welcoming the foreign guests MCCI President Vishal Jhajharia, also the Consul General of Kazakhstan in Kolkata said India-Kazakhstan economic relationship was significantly influenced by energy resources.
Besides the traditional source of energy the two nations are also collaborating on clean nuclear energy since Kazakhstan is endowed with large nuclear reserves and India is a large energy consumer.