Bishkek, Oct 11: India on Monday agreed to provide a USD 200 million Line of Credit support for development projects in Kyrgyzstan, as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held “constructive” talks with the top Kyrgyz leadership to boost bilateral ties, including defence cooperation and discussed global issues like Afghanistan.
Jaishankar, who arrived here on Sunday as part of his four-day visit to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Armenia with an aim to further expand bilateral ties with the three Central Asian countries, called on Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov and discussed with him expanding economic between the two countries.
“Thank President Sadyr Japarov for receiving me so warmly. Conveyed greetings of PM @narendramodi. Appreciate his strong commitment to advance our Strategic Partnership. Discussed expanding our economic and development partnership and people to people contacts,” Jaishankar tweeted.
The minister said that he also exchanged assessments on Afghanistan with President Japarov. Earlier in the day, Jaishankar had “cordial and constructive” talks with his Kyrgyz counterpart Ruslan Kazakbaev. “Agreed on USD 200 million LoC to support development projects. Also concluded an understanding on executing high impact community projects,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.
According to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs, the signing of the MoU on High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) will enable the implementation of quick community development projects in various sectors for the benefit of common people under full grant funding by the Government of India.
Jaishankar said that discussion on developments in Afghanistan and its implications for the peace and security of the region occupied some time in his talks with Kazakbaev. “We are closely following the developments in Afghanistan. It concerns all of us. Any instability in Afghanistan will have an impact in the region. There are expectations of the international community from the current regime in Afghanistan, which are adequately elaborated in the UNSCR 2593,” he said.
“India and Kyrgyz Republic have a shared approach to developments in Afghanistan,” he said in a tweet. Noting that India and Kyrgyz Republic traditionally share close and cordial relations underpinned by historical and civilisational ties, Jaishankar said that periodic high-level exchanges between the two countries has been useful in strengthening and expanding the horizons of the bilateral relations.
“I had today a detailed and productive meeting today morning with Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev on various facets of our cooperation. We shared an overall sense that our bilateral relations are progressing very well,” he said. They evaluated the defence exchanges and personnel training between the two countries very positively during the discussions.
“Given our common interest in maintaining peace and security in the region, defence and security cooperation occupies an important place in our relations. We evaluated our defence exchanges and personnel-training very positively,” the MEA statement quoted Jaishankar as saying.
“We agreed to continue cooperation in the fields of high-altitude training and biomedical research. The conduct of annual military exercise Khanjar despite the constraints of Covid pandemic is noteworthy,” he said in the statement.
“Discussed need for early travel of Indian students and more liberal visa regime. Reviewed our defence and security cooperation positively,” he tweeted. Jaishankar said that one area that needs a concerted push from both sides is bilateral trade and investments. “We agreed to encourage our Chambers and business to work closely while the governments will continue to play a facilitative role,” he said.
Jaishankar noted that the signing of the new Bilateral Investment Treaty in 2019 and the mutual agreement on the date of entry into force of the Amended Protocol of the India-Kyrgyz Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) are important steps towards that. Connectivity, which is a major impediment to bilateral trade, also figured prominently in the discussions, it said.
“We believe that respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is a prerequisite for any connectivity initiative,” he said. Jaishankar said that the development Cooperation has been gradually emerging as an important pillar of cooperation between the two countries.
“Our telemedicine centers have helped Kyrgyz people in rural areas get connected to medical facilities in cities,” he said. As part of the evolving development partnership paradigm, the two countries agreed to explore joint-development projects in the fields of eco tourism, jewellery-design, pharma, medicines, medical education, IT Parks & data-banks.
India will also support the establishment of three more Tele-Medicine Centers in Batken, Jalal-Ababd, and Chui regions of Kyrgyz Republic, the statement said. The two countries agreed on greater emphasis on the preservation and promotion of cultural links. “On the multilateral front, both our countries support each other in the UN and other multilateral forums including the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation). We agreed to continue with the tradition of our constructive partnership in the multilateral fora,” he said.
Later in the day, Jaishankar paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at his statue in Bishkek and also interacted with Indian students who joined him on the occasion. Jaishankar also gifted Indian epics and classics to the Manas-Mahatma Gandhi library in Bishkek. “Very pleased to gift Indian epics and classics to the Manas-Mahatma Gandhi library in Bishkek.
Applaud the leadership of Prof. Turgunaliev in strengthening our cultural cooperation,” he tweeted. He also released a dictionary of common words in Hindi and Kyrgyz languages along with Foreign Minister Kazakbaev. Praising the Kyrgyz landscape, Jaishankar said that the lakes and peaks offer excellent destinations for Bollywood productions. An incentive-package by Kyrgyz side may open new avenues for Bollywood film shootings, he said. Jaishankar left Kyrgyzstan for Kazakhstan where he will attend the 6th Ministerial meeting of the Conference of Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). “A satisfying visit to Kyrgyzstan. Leave with an abiding memory of our cultural connect,” he tweeted. PTI
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Story first published: Monday, October 11, 2021, 18:42 [IST]