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Address by Ambassador at the Republic Day Reception in Nur-Sultan on 24th January, 2020

Posted on: January 24, 2020 | Back | Print

Your Excellency Mr. Nurlan Nogayev,

Distinguished Guests, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

          Good evening/ Qayirly kesh / Dobryy vecher !

          It is an honour and pleasure to extend a warm welcome to you all on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day of India. I would like to wish good health, happiness and prosperity to the people of India and Kazakhstan and to you all who are present here in this auspicious event.

2.        India’s relations with Kazakhstan are built on a strong foundation of centuries old historical and cultural ties. India and Kazakhstan have enjoyed excellent relations since Kazakhstan’s independence on December 16, 1991.  The relationship was upgraded to the level of strategic partnership during the visit of the first President Nursultan Nazarbayev to India in 2009 when he was the Chief Guest for our Republic Day function. Regular exchange of visits at all levels from both sides and Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s two visits to Kazakhstan in the past 5 years have contributed to the development of multi-faceted cooperation in all areas of bilateral and multilateral relations.

3.         2019 was a good year in the context of bilateral relations between India and Kazakhstan. Hon’ble External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had a  meeting with his counterpart of Kazakhstan H.E. Mr. Mukhtar Tileuberdi on the sidelines during the 74th UNGA in New York on 22-27 September, 2019. A four-member delegation led by Dy Speaker of Rajya Sabha Shri Hari Bansh Narayan Singh visited Kazakhstan to attend the 4th meeting of Speakers of Eurasian countries’ Parliaments held on 23-24 September 2019 in Nur-Sultan, which was followed by the visit of Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Shri V Muraleedharan, who participated in the 5th anniversary of ‘Astana Club’. Shri Sushil Chandra, Election Commissioner of India visited Kazakhstan to observe the presidential elections held on 9 June 2019.  From Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr. Kanat Bozymbayev, Minister of Energy accompanied by H.E. Mr. Yermek Kosherbayev, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan visited India to attend Petrotech-2019 on 10-12 February held in New Delhi; a delegation led by H.E. Mr. Ilyin Yuri Viktorovich, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan visited India to attend the 10th meeting of the Heads of Officers of the SCO member states on joint urban earthquake search and rescue exercise held on 4-7 November 2019 in New Delhi.

5.      Defence, security, space and civil nuclear cooperation is an essential pillar of our strategic partnership with Kazakhstan.   Mr Marat Nurghozhin, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Digital Development and Defence and Aerospace Industry and Aviation Major General Nurlan Karbenov, Commander-in-Chief of Air Defence Forces led two delegations participated in Aero India 2019 from 19 to 22 Feb 2019. India-Kazakhstan Joint Military Exercise ‘KAZIND -2019’ was held in India from 01-16 Oct 2019 . Kazakh Army Contingent comprising of 60 personnel participated in the exercise. Kazakhstan continued to participate in UN peacekeeping in Lebanon jointly with the Indian battalion.    

6.          Kazakhstan continues to be India’s largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia.  From January to November 2019, total bilateral trade between India and Kazakhstan amounted to US$ 1.56 bin, out of which exports from Kazakhstan was to the tune of US$ 1299.1 million, and exports from India was US$ 267.9 million.        Promotion for increasing exports of Indian products included participation of Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC), with a delegation of 30 Indian companies in Kazbuild and Aquatherm 2019 Expo held at Almaty, Kazakhstan on 4-6 September 2019; and a  CAPEXIL delegation comprising 18 Indian companies at Kazcomak Expo held in Almaty on 18-20 September 2019. With a goal to improve connectivity between the two countries, the 1st meeting of India-Kazakhstan Joint Working Group on Connectivity, Transport and Logistics was held on 26-27 November 2019 in New Delhi.  Ministries of Tourism from the states of Kerala, Rajasthan and delegates from Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and businessmen from Indian tourism sector attended the PATA Travel Mart 2019 held in Nur-Sultan on 18-20 September 2019. 

7. India’s Technical and Economic cooperation programme continues to play an important role in capacity building of officials, business executives and defence forces of Kazakhstan. Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) provides scholarships to Kazakh scholars to pursue higher education in India. I am glad to inform that over 1000 people have availed ITEC facility and over 200 scholars availed ICCR scholarships in the last several years. Technical and Economic Cooperation with Kazakhstan continued with special courses for school teachers and in Cyber Security organized at English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad and IIT Kanpur respectively.  35 participants from Kazakhstan completed a course in ‘Big data’ held by IIT Chennai through video-conferencing at the India-Kazakhstan Centre for Excellence on Information and Communication Technology during Feb- April 2019.

8.     India and Kazakhstan enjoy close cultural relations that manifest in popularity of yoga, Indian films, dance and music in Kazakhstan. Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre in Nur-Sultan is engaged in various cultural activities, including conducting of yoga, dance and music classes; celebration of Indian festivals. 

9.      ICCR sponsors cultural troupes to perform in foreign countries. As for Kazakhstan, a 12-member Music and Dance Troupe “Pioneers of Quepem” from Goa sponsored by ICCR gave performances in Almaty, Nur-Sultan and Temirtau cities during 12-16 March 2019. Similarly, a Jazz Orchestra Band from Shymkent, Kazakhstan  performed at the 8th Delhi International Jazz Festival held on 3 March 2019.  

10.     Several events on the occasion of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi were organized during 2019, including cycle rally, tree plantation, musical tribute, painting competition, essay contest and photo exhibitions. The 5th International Day of Yoga was celebrated by the Mission in Almaty, Arkalyk, Atyrau, Karaganda, Kostanay, Taraz, Temirtau, Zerenda, and the capital, Nur-Sultan from 15-23 June 2019. At the ‘Days of India’ celebration in Nur-Sultan on 15-20 August 2019, Indian films, photo exhibition, food festival, master classes in yoga, dance and music and a ‘India Means Business’ seminar were the main attractions.  550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak was celebrated in Almaty with recitation of Kirtan, Katha, followed by Langar on 17 November 2019

-Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

11.   We hope, 2020 will be more fruitful and significant for every sector in relations and cooperation between India and Kazakhstan.

12.  Let me this take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution and the hard work of my colleagues in the Embassy and the attached Cultural Centre both Indian and local staff, without whose support we would not have successfully hosted so many delegations and events that I had described in the earlier part of my speech.

13. Let me also inform you that today’s food for the reception has been prepared by chefs from India Mr Nitesh Kumar Jha and Mr Paramjeet Singh from the famous Taj Group of Hotel. Mr.  Nitesh and Mr. Paramjeet have come for this event. My special thanks to them.

14.   I thank all of you for joining us this evening to celebrate the 71st Anniversary of the Republic Day of India. I would also like to thank the Government of Kazakhstan for extending all the support to the Embassy of India. I would like to invite the Hon’ble Chief Guest, H.E. Mr. Nurlan Nogayev to say a few words.