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India, Kyrgyzstan to fight terror together, expand development partnership


IANS New Delhi
Following delegation-level talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Chingiz Azamatovich Aidarbekov here on Tuesday, India and Kyrgyzstan agreed to fight terrorism and radicalisation together, besides expanding cooperation in development partnership, among other areas.
"Acknowledging the threat posed by terrorism and radicalisation to their societies, the two ministers agreed to work together to fight the scourge of terrorism and cooperate in exchanging experience in the field of deradicalisation," the External Affairs Ministry said in statement issued after the meeting.
"Cooperation in the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was reviewed in detail."
The SCO is a Eurasian inter-governmental organisation, the creation of which was announced in 2001 in Shanghai by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism. India, along with Pakistan, was granted full membership of the bloc in 2017.
According to the Ministry statement, the two ministers also held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
"Noting the close cultural and historical ties between India and Kyrgyzstan and reiterating the importance the two countries attach to their bilateral relationship, the ministers agreed to expand India-Kyrgyz cooperation in a number of areas, particularly in the field of development partnership," it stated.
Aidarbekov briefed Sushma Swaraj on Kyrgyzstan's efforts to liberalise its economy, create business friendly conditions and attract foreign investment including that from Indian companies.
"Giving an overview of new infrastructure projects in Kyrgyzstan, including in the fields of railways and hydro-electricity, Foreign Minister Aidarbekov invited India to participate in such projects," the statement said.
"Presence of more than 9,000 Indian students in various Kyrgyz educational institutions was noted in the context of the potential to enhance cooperation in the field of education by encouraging collaboration between universities of both countries."
Other areas that came up for discussion were defence cooperation, capacity building, training, IT and e-governance, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, tourism, movie production and culture.
The two leaders also recalled the first-ever India-Central Asia Dialogue held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan at the level of foreign ministers earlier this month and discussed the importance of this initiative in creating a platform for region-wide cooperation which would bring benefits to all the participating countries in terms of enhanced trade and economic cooperation and connectivity.
Commercial ties between the two countries have been modest with bilateral trade heavily in India's favour.
According to figures provided by the External Affairs Ministry, the India-Kyrgyzstan bilateral trade stood at $24.98 million in 2016-17.
India's exports to Kyrgyzstan was $22.66 million, whereas Kyrgyz exports to India was $2.32 million.
As the SCO Chair this year, Aidarbekov, during the meeting, also reiterated the invitation extended to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the SCO Summit to be held in Kyrgyzstan.
Aidarbekov arrived here on Sunday an a five-day visit to India.
He called on Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and held a meeting with Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla, besides addressing an India-Kyrgyzstan Business Forum.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 9:56 PM IST

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