By Ashok Dixit
New Delhi, Feb.13 (ANI): India has confirmed that it will be participating in Kazakhstan’s EXPO-2017 next year by formally signing a participation agreement here.
The agreement was inked by Rapil Zhoshybayev, Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Commissioner of EXPO-2017 and Mr. L.C. Goyal, Chairman and Managing Director of the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) at the ITPO headquarters in Pragati Maidan here.
Prior to the formal signing ceremony, both sides exchanged views on further cooperation within the framework of EXPO-2017 and technical issues of participation.
Mr. Goyal informed about India’s keen desire to showcase new developments in the field of green energy during the exhibition.
Goyal said, “India, and specifically the ITPO, is extremely delighted to host you (Minister Zhoshybayev) and your delegation, and sees it as a matter of pride. The Government of India and the people of India are delighted that EXPO-2017 is being hosted by the Government of Kazakhstan. It is a prestigious event. We are happy to see the video presentation. The EXPO-2017 complex is an iconic one that after the event will be a “legacy complex”.
The ITPO chairman and managing director further said that it was indeed significant to know that “Future Energy” is the theme of EXPO-2017, and referred to last year’s discussions at The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France. He said that both India and Kazakhstan need to make sure that they safeguard the rights and safety of the next generation.
“Nations around the globe need to step up efforts for promotion of sustainable energy, and in this context, the theme of EXPO-2017 is extremely important,” he said.
“EXPO-2017 is a unique platform to find ways for a more eco-friendly society in which both humans and nature can co-exist in a harmonious manner. Our bilateral ties are outstanding. We are at a stage from where we can only go forward. Kazakhstan is India’s biggest trading partner in Central Asia. Participation in EXPO-2017 will go a long way in reinforcing trade ties between India and Kazakhstan despite the current imbalance in trade,” Goyal further stated
“I have no doubt in my mind that the event will facilitate greater investment in Kazakhstan and boost trade ties between India and Kazakhstan. This meeting and the signing of a participation agreement is a major step in terms of India agreeing and committing to participate in EXPO – 2017 on a large scale,” Goyal said.
“India’s participation and contribution will be comprehensive and significant,” he added.
In an exclusive interaction with ANI, Minister Zhoshybayev informed that currently 74 countries and 14 international organisations have officially confirmed their participation in EXPO-2017. He informed that India has asked for 3000 square meters of exhibition space, but currently the Government of Kazakhstan and the EXPO-2017 Commission is offering about 1000 square meters to each participating nation, and would try to accommodate the additional requirements of New Delhi to the extent possible.
He told ANI that a clearer picture would emerge at a participants meeting in Astana on February 24, and added that as per plan, he expected to handover the EXPO-2017 complex to the participating nations by November or December this year to give them about six months time to set up their halls and items for display.
He also informed that as far as costs were concerned for hosting the exhibition, a final figure would be available closer to the complex completion date. Kazakhstan, he said, is committed to using internal resources for all infrastructural activity related to EXPO -2017.
He said that after the conclusion of EXPO-2017, the complex would be converted into an international financial hub similar to what existed in Dubai and where only English law would apply.
On Thursday, a presentation of EXPO-2017 in the form of a road show was organized by the East Kazakhstan region Government in collaboration with Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and with support of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in India. It highlighted the investment climate and investment attractiveness of the East Kazakhstan region.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), India is among of the top 10 countries that produce alternative energy. The country has set itself the task of increasing the proportion of renewable energy sources five times and reach the mark of 175 000 megawatt by 2022.
Minister Zhoshybayev also met Ajay M. Gondane, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of, External Affairs and representatives of Indian business firms.
At the Ministry of External Affairs, both sides discussed the state and prospects of cooperation between the two countries in several fields. Minister Zhoshybayev handed a letter of gratitude on behalf of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, for the President of India, Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, for supporting the candidacy of Kazakhstan to the non-permanent member of UN Security Council for years of 2017-18.
At their meeting, the question on the facilitation of the visa regime for tourists and businessmen was also discussed in the run-up to EXPO -2017.
In order to create favorable conditions for the development of long-term cooperation in the field of tourism, the Indian side was invited to consider the possibility of signing an inter-departmental document on the facilitation of mutual touristic group trips of citizens of both countries (an ADS Agreement). (ANI)