Bishkek: Seeking a peaceful and secure neighbourhood amidst threat of terrorism and extremism, India and Kyrgyzstan today signed four agreements including one on bolstering defence cooperation and holding annual joint military exercises.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Bishkek last night as part of his eight-day six-nation tour to Central Asia, emphasised the need to combat terrorism and extremism which he described as a threat without borders.
"We both seek a peaceful and secure neighbourhood at a time of challenges in our region. And, we have shared interest in combating extremism and terrorism that has become a threat without borders," he said following his talks with President Almazbek Atambayev.
The two countries signed four key agreements including on cooperation in defence and culture fields.
Two MoU were also signed for cooperation between the Election Commissions of the two countries and on cooperation in the sphere of Standards, a move that will help economic relations.
Prime Minister Modi underlined that his visit to the 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".
Noting that the bilateral defence ties are strong, he said a joint exercise 'Khanjar 2015' has just been completed. "We have decided to hold joint military exercises on an annual basis," he said.
Mr Modi underlined that the new agreement on defence cooperation would provide a "framework to broaden bilateral engagement" which would also include defence technology.
The defence agreement signed is aimed at deepening bilateral cooperation in defence, security, military education and training.
It also envisages conduct of joint military exercises, exchange of experience and information, and exchange of military observers and instructors besides others.
Thanking Kyrgyzstan's "strong support" to India's candidature for permanent membership of an expanded United Nations Security Council, Prime Minister Modi sought Atambaev's support for early completion of the UNSC reforms.
Talking about military cooperation, Modi said the IT Centre in the Kyrgyz Military Academy is an example of innovative cooperation that is important to both countries.
Observing that Kyrgyzstan's commitment to the UN Peacekeeping Missions is truly laudable, he said it is a great pleasure for India to support this effort on the strength of Nits long experience in this area.
"I will have the pleasure of handing over a small contribution of field medical equipment to Kyrgyz Armed Forces," he said.
The Prime Minister said India sees an important place for Central Asia in its future. "We can reinforce each other's economic progress. Sustainable development is important for both. We can contribute to cooperation and integration across the different regions of Asia," he said.
Modi underlined that he looks forward to the launch of the tele-medicine link with India. "It is the first in the region. And, it tells us about the possibilities of the digital world. We will also initiate the second Phase of the Kyrgyz-India Mountain Bio-Medical Research Centre," he said.
Admiring President Atambaev's contribution to democracy and development, Modi said he had very enriching discussion with him and deeply appreciated his commitment to the bilateral ties.
"We spoke at length about strengthening our relations in trade, investment, tourism, culture and human resource development," he said.
Modi said he was delighted that Election Commissions of both countries have signed a pact on cooperation in modern system and technologies and issues of election administration.
He said his government looks forward to the visit of a Kyrgyz Parliamentary delegation to India after the elections in the Kyrgyz Republic.
"I welcome the agreements on Standards and on Culture today. The connectivity initiative between India and Central Asia will further boost our economic ties," he said.
The Prime Minister said both countries will enhance engagement in capacity building and increase the training offers for Kyrgyzstan to 100 this year.
"I am pleased that we have established a India-Kyrgyz Centre for Information Technology in the Kyrgyz State University in Bishkek," he said, adding India would be pleased to set up similar Centres in other major cities in Kyrgyzstan.
IT is critical for success today and for creating opportunities for the youth, he added.
Noting that agriculture is an important sector in both India and the Kyrgyz Republic, Modi said they will shortly hold a round-table to explore possible avenues for cooperation and identify concrete projects in this sector.
Modi congratulated President Atambaev on Kyrgyzstan joining the Eurasian Economic Union. He said that both the sides have agreed that a Free Trade Agreement between India and EEU will substantially increase our cooperation.
"He (Atambaev) expressed support for an early completion of the Joint Study Group's Feasibility Report. This could make Kyrgyzstan a base for broader economic engagement in the region," Modi said, adding that they look forward to engagement in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
He also thanked Atambaev and Kyrgyzstan for the support in making the International Day of Yoga on June 21 a huge success. "I am confident that the visit will take our bilateral cooperation to new heights. I look forward to an early opportunity to receive President Atembaev in India," he said.
On his part, President Atambayev said, "India won our hearts a long time ago when songs of Raj Kapoor became famous in our region."
Modi will also unveil a statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the street that bears his name. "I thank the people of Kyrgyzstan for this honour. His life and message are universal and timeless. This statue will also remind the residents of our shared values," he said.
Modi kicked off his visit earlier today by laying a wreath at the Victory Monument here in the national capital. The Prime Minister arrived here late night from
Turkmenistan and was received by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Temir Sariyev at the airport.
Modi has already visited Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and will now travel to Tajikistan on the last leg of his visit.
He had also visited Ufa in Russia where he attended the BRICS and SCO Summits besides holding bilateral talks with leaders of Pakistan, Russia and China.