Kyrgyzstan: India and Kyrgyzstan on Sunday inked four agreements, including in defence cooperation and between their election commissions, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with President Almazbek Atambayev.
Visiting Bishkek, the penultimate stop of his tour of Central Asian countries, Modi in his media statement said his visit to all five countries in the region "demonstrates the importance that we attach to a new level of relationship with Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is a key part of that vision".
Modi said resource-rich Central Asia has an important place in India's future and both sides seek a peaceful and secure neighbourhood and have a shared interest in combating extremism and terrorism. The agreement on defence cooperation was in matters relating to defence, security, military education and training, conduct of joint military exercises, exchange of experience and information, exchange of military instructors and observers.
Modi said their defence ties were strong and the agreement would help broaden their defence cooperation. The Special Forces of the armed forces of the two countries held joint exercise "Khanjar 2015" in Kyrgyzstan in March, "which reflected continuity in exercises held in India in 2011. It was decided to hold joint exercises on an annual basis", said the joint statement.
The Kyrgyz side expressed its appreciation to India for "training Kyrgyz military officers for conducting various UN Peacekeeping Courses, including by the Centre for UN Peacekeeping in New Delhi", the statement said. Modi said the IT Centre in the Kyrgyz Military Academy "is an example of innovative cooperation that is important to both countries" and the new agreement would provide a framework to broaden engagement.
Modi expressed happiness at the cooperation agreement between the election commissions and said he looked forward to the visit of a Kyrgyz parliamentary delegation to India. The other two agreements were an MoU between Kyrgyzstan's economy ministry and the Bureau of Indian Standards on cooperation in the field of standards, and an agreement on cooperation in culture.
Modi said both sides discussed at length about boosting trade, investment, tourism, culture and human resource development and added that the connectivity initiative between India and Central Asia will further boost economic ties. Modi also thanked Kyrgyzstan for its support to India's candidature for a permanent United Nations Security Council seat.
In the joint statement, India reaffirmed support of the candidacy of the Kyrgyz Republic for the UN Human Rights Council for 2016-2018. Both sides expressed "grave concern at the rising trend of extremism, radicalism and terrorism in the region and whole world" and India "highly appreciated the steps taken by the Kyrgyz government in counteracting terrorism and in retaining the secular character of Kyrgyz society".
The two sides agreed to expeditiously consider signing an agreement on "combating international terrorism and other crimes", the statement said. They also agreed to boost economic, trade and investment linkages which were below potential. Modi also congratulated Atambaev on Kyrgyzstan's joining the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union and both Sides agreed to work together for early conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement between the Eurasia Economic Union and India, said the joint statement.
Modi said both sides would hold a roundtable in Bishkek in the field of agriculture to explore possible avenues for cooperation and identify concrete projects. India has offered to share its experience in agro-processing, greenhouse technology, water conservation, and agricultural research with Kyrgyzstan.
The joint statement also expressed satisfaction over "growing links in the health sector, including regular visits by doctors from super-specialty hospitals in India to Kyrgyzstan, visits of patients from Kyrgyzstan to India for medical treatment and complex surgery at affordable cost and international standards, and the gifting of a computed tomography machine to the National Center for Cardiology and Internal Medicine (NCCIM) by the government of India in September 2014".
It also welcomed the launch of a project to establish tele-medicine links between highly specialised hospitals of India and six medical establishments of Kyrgyzstan. At the lunch banquet, Atambayev said "India has a calling to become a great economic power like the US and China". Modi later met Kyrgyz parliament Speaker Asylbek Jeenbekov and also held talks with Prime Minister Temir Sariyev.
During his meeting with Sariyev, Modi gifted medical equipment to Kyrgyzstan's Level II Field Hospital. He also visited the Kyrgyz-India Mountain Biomedical Research Centre. Modi gifted the president a hand-knotted carpet of very fine grade wool blended with silk.