Indian Ambassador Highlights Promising Partnerships in IT, Digitalization and Healthcare

ASTANA – Information technologies (IT) and digitalization, healthcare, tourism and education have been identified as key fields where Kazakhstan and India can expand and forge new partnerships, according to Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan T.V. Nagendra Prasad.

Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan T.V. Nagendra Prasad. Photo credit: Indian embassy in Kazakhstan

In an interview with The Astana Times, Prasad spoke of trade and investment, cultural ties and educational exchanges that are key to the future of bilateral relations. The ambassador also touched on Central Asia’s role in Indian foreign policy.

India and Central Asia

According to Prasad, the Central Asian region holds strategic importance for India as it considers the region its “extended neighborhood.”

“Besides its historical linkages, due to its strategic location, Central Asia is crucial for security, connectivity and trade and economic relations. Kazakhstan obviously has a significant place as the largest country and economy in the region. Its rich abundant natural resources, including minerals, growing economy and adaptability to technology have huge potential for India-Kazakh cooperation across the sectors,” said Prasad.

The momentum in this relationship can be gauged by the fact that India has established various institutionalized mechanisms to engage and strengthen ties with Central Asia.

In 2019, India initiated the India-Central Asia Dialogue, a ministerial-level dialogue between foreign ministers of India and the five Central Asian states. Then, in 2022, India launched the India-Central Asia Summit at the level of heads of state and the government.

Prasad said those mechanisms would take the bilateral relationship to the next level, anticipating important developments in trade and investment benefiting both sides.


“Kazakhstan is India’s largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia. Total bilateral trade between India and Kazakhstan amounted to $1 billion in 2023,” said Prasad.

Ambassador Prasad at the credentials presentation ceremony with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Photo credit: Indian embassy in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s top exports to India are petroleum oils, hydrogen, silver, asbestos and ferroalloys, while India exports pharmaceuticals, electronics, tea, motor vehicles and ceramics.

“However, only a fraction of trade potential has been realized to date, leaving huge scope across the sectors.  India is the fifth-largest economy in the world and is the fastest-growing economy. India’s large market, growing economy and growing Kazakhstan’s economy with aspiring young populations have much to collaborate in pharma, energy, infrastructure, IT and digital development,” said Prasad.

Several bilateral institutional mechanisms have been created to foster trade and deepen ties between the two countries, such as the India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC), Joint Working Groups (JWGs) and India-Central Asia Business Council. 

“We should make use of these mechanisms to promote bilateral trade. Kazakhstan can look for a role in the manufacturing and distributing of several products with the collaboration of the Indian industry. I am happy to note that Kazakhstan took part in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit recently to explore the opportunities. On its platform, the participating countries discussed issues of socio-economic development and promising projects for foreign investment,” said Prasad.

The IT sector and digitalization, in particular, have much potential, according to the ambassador.

“Digitalization sectors have significant potential for cooperation between India and Kazakhstan. In particular, both countries have a strong IT infrastructure, talented information technology specialists and the ease of adoption by people, for example, cashless transactions,” he said.

“Kazakhstan is increasingly focusing on developing its technology and innovation sector, with a growing startup ecosystem and government support for IT development. Indian tech companies and startups can consider partnering with Kazakh counterparts or investing in the growing IT and innovation sector,” added Prasad.


The inflow of foreign direct investment from India to Kazakhstan over the past 25 years amounted to $414 million, said Prasad. As of January, 563 Indian legal entities, branches, representative offices and joint ventures are registered in Kazakhstan.

“Kazakhstan has significant potential in the energy sector. Indian companies can explore opportunities for investment in renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. Indian companies with expertise in construction, engineering and project management can explore opportunities in metals and mining, infrastructure projects, including transportation, logistics including ports, railways and urban development, automobiles,” said Prasad.

“It is important to note that the Indian private sector is investing in a big way abroad and Kazakhstan fits well into it.  I am confident that the future holds promise for Indian investors in Kazakhstan,” he added.

With India being known as the pharma and vaccine capital of the world, there is much potential to invest in Kazakhstan’s pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical equipment and healthcare services as well.


In 2023, Indian visitors ranked among the top five visitor groups to Kazakhstan, according to the Kazakh Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The ambassador said Kazakhstan has been blessed with a rich history and beauty that attracts Indians to visit the country. 

Now, both countries are working together to ensure further growth in tourism by easing the visa requirements.

“The recent developments include Kazakhstan’s offer of 14 days visa-free travel to Indian tourists. India’s extension of the e-visa facility to Kazakh citizens has also smoothened travel. Added to this, there has been an increase in air connectivity in the Almaty – Delhi, Almaty – Mumbai and Shymkent – Delhi sectors besides regular chartered flights to Goa. Likewise, there is an increased tourism to royal palaces in Rajasthan, Nature of Kerala, Beaches of Goa and Biodiversity of North-East,” said Prasad.

India has also emerged as a highly reliable and cost-effective medical tourism destination. Medical tourism represents significant potential for cooperation between India and Kazakhstan, according to Prasad.

Culture and education

“Cultural connection between our two countries based on people-to-people exchanges has been there for centuries,” said Prasad.

In 1994, India established its Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC) in Kazakhstan.  That was the launch of an important step that is a road map for cultural exchange between the countries for decades to come. 

SVCC provides facilities for learning Indian dance, music and yoga to Kazakh people at its premises. It also facilitates the projection of Kazakh culture in India.  

Last year, several Kazakh artists visited India to showcase their performing art traditions. Eighty Kazakh artists took part in the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival in India, highlighting the rich culture of the two countries.

The two countries have also signed a historic India-Kazakhstan Cultural Exchange Program in 2022 with the aim to promote cultural exchanges and dialogues.

“I am happy to note that the cultural exchanges are growing constantly,” said Prasad.

India and Kazakhstan have also joined forces to develop educational exchange programs. Approximately 9,800 Indian students are studying in Kazakh medical universities. 

“The inflow of Indian students in Kazakh medical universities located in various cities contributes significantly to strengthening bonds between our countries,” said Prasad.

India also provides academic opportunities for a substantial number of Kazakh students every year to study under the fully paid Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) program and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarship. 

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