New Delhi [India], June 7 : Welcoming the opening of direct flights between New Delhi and Kazakhstan capital Astana from July 2, Kazakhstan's Ambassador to India Bulat Sarsenbayev described it as a significant development in the 25th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In a statement given out the media, Ambassador Sarsenbayev said, "I am very glad to note that we managed to agree on the opening of direct flights between the capitals of the two countries during the significant year of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Kazakh-Indian diplomatic relations.
Starting from 2nd July of this year, company "Air Astana" will operate three times a week direct flights on the route Astana-Delhi-Astana, which will harmoniously complement the already existing daily flights Almaty-Delhi-Almaty." He revealed that the activities related to the establishment direct flights between the two capital cities was carried out in accordance with the "Plan of the Nation - 100 Concrete Steps to implement the Five Institutional Reforms" proposed by Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
He referred to specific sections of the plan such as "Point Number 67" wherein it is clearly mentioned that "Development of the air carrier "Air Astana" and the national company "Kazakhstan Temirzholy" as major international operators." "Air Astana will focus on international routes and opening the new ones linking Astana with the main financial centers of the world.
Development of Air Astana will be harmonized with the plans of Kazakhstan TemirZholy on the development of alternative routes and that, in turn, will reduce the cost of cargo delivery more than two-fold," the plan mentions.
Point number 69 of The Plan states Kazakhstan's goal of turning Astana into a business, cultural and scientific center of Eurasia, attracting researchers, students, businessmen, and tourists from all over the region.
At the same time, a modern international transport and logistics system, including a new airport terminal will be created in the city.
Point number 73 mentions the need for providing of international transport accessibility to the financial center and establishment of regular and comfortable air connection of the financial center with the World's leading financial centers.
Ambassador Sarsenbayev said, "Relations between our countries and the people are rooted in the ancient times when migration took place from Eurasia to Southern Asia.
This period is linked to the Indian ruler Kanishka, known in the history of Kazakhstan as Khan Yerke, and to the people Scythians (Saks), who were known in India as Saka people." "In the middle ages our peoples and culture had links when such historic personalities as Qutubuddin Aibak, Ghiyas-ud-din Balban, Amir Timur, Babur and Muhammed Haider Dughlat were active," he added.
"In modern times, but before Kazakhstan attained independence, the links between our countries were manifested through the love of Kazakh people for Indian culture and also through the visit of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi to Kazakhstan in 1955," he said.
"Twenty-five years is a very small period, considering the centuries-old history of our relations. However, representatives of both the countries generally agree that over these 25 years our ties of friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation have stood the test of time and our people have retained the warm relations," the Kazakh envoy said.
"The fact that there are no problems in the cooperation between our countries in politics as also in the cooperation in multilateral fora is a matter of special pride and a great achievement.
Effective political cooperation between our countries has been ensured due to the similarity of our positions on the basic international issues and problems.
Leaders of the two countries make use of all the opportunities and multilateral platforms for exchange of views on global and regional processes and for developing the cooperation.
Undoubtedly, a major coordinating role in this multifaceted cooperation between Kazakhstan and India is being played by the foreign ministries of the two countries and their leadership, " he added.
"Such a high level of political cooperation is also a good base for developing mutually beneficial trade and economic relations.
Right now, Kazakhstan is the main trading partner of India in Central Asia and the second largest partner in the entire post-Soviet region.
Despite that, the trade and economic cooperation does not match the potential and the capabilities of our countries," he said.
"It is my considered view that thanks to the political will, desire and a clear understanding of the importance of developing cooperation between Kazakhstan and India as not only major countries but leaders in their region, the leadership of the two countries wish to do its best to strengthen the friendship and the stable partnership in all areas of cooperation," he added.
"Over the last two-and-a-half years, the Kazakhstan Embassy in India has tried to do its best to achieve the tasks assigned by the President (Nursultan Nazarbayev)..... The strategic partnership has acquired a clearer shape.
The intention of Kazakhstan to support Indian candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council is a testimony to the strong political ties between our countries," he said.
"Another confirmation of the strong partnership is the seriousness with which India approached its participation in the specialized international EXPO-2017.
Without being a member of the International Bureau of Expositions (BIE), India not only decided to take part in the international Expo because of the level of cooperation between our countries, but also made a request for a pavilion with the largest space.
Two honorary consulates of Kazakhstan have been opened: in Mumbai (for Maharashtra) in 2015 and in Chennai (for Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala) in 2017." "Over the past two years, the flow of Indian citizens to the Republic of Kazakhstan has almost doubled from 5,000 to almost 11,000 people.
Over the same period, the number of visitors from Kazakhstan to India increased almost threefold to 18,000 in 2016.
I am confident that the direct flights between the capitals along with the already successfully functioning of Almaty-Delhi-Almaty flights will contribute significantly to the implementation of the instructions of the Head of State Nursultan Nazarbayev, including increasing the number of foreign visitors to EXPO-2017, to make fuller use of economic and investment potential Representatives of business and tourists from India," he concluded.