India-Kyrgyzstan Defence Ties Get Booster Dose

Globetrotting

“We have decided to hold joint military exercises on an annual basis. Our new agreement on defence cooperation would provide a framework to broaden our engagement. This would also include defence technology”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, from July 11-12 on a state visit where he had a “very enriching discussion” with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev. “Close ties over centuries creates a special kind of closeness and goodwill that adds a lot of charm and interest to the visit,” Modi said in his address to the media after his arrival to the Central Asia country.

“We spoke at length about strengthening our relations,” the Indian prime minister said. Modi congratulated President Atambayev on Kyrgyzstan joining the Eurasian Economic Union and said “We agreed that a Free Trade Agreement between India and EEU will substantially increase our cooperation.”

Both sides agreed in principle to ramp up bilateral defence relations. “Our defence ties are strong,” Modi said, “We have decided to hold joint military exercises on an annual basis. Our new agreement on defence cooperation would provide a framework to broaden our engagement. This would also include defence technology.”

On July 12 the two countries signed four key bilateral agreements, including on cooperation in the fields of defence and culture. Two MoUs were also signed for cooperation on standardisation and between election commissions. Broadly, the two sides agreed to strengthen their relations in trade, investment, tourism, culture and human resource development.

“I look 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,” Modi said. “We will also initiate the second Phase of the Kyrgyz-India Mountain Bio-Medical Research Center.” Both sides have also agreed to enhance engagements on information technology.

Agriculture is another area on which discussion took place. The two countries will shortly hold a round table in Bishkek to explore possible avenues for cooperation and identify concrete projects in the agriculture sector.

A joint press statement of the two leaders stated that instructions have been given to relevant departments to put in place a liberal visa regime for a few categories of citizens to promote business and tourism between the two countries.

“Keeping in view the shared cultural and historical linkages as well as the deep trust and mutual confidence between India and the Kyrgyz Republic, the Sides felt that the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi marks a new beginning towards qualitatively enhancing the relationship between India and the Kyrgyz Republic and to strengthen friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries,” the joint press statement said and hoped that decisions reached during the visit will give an additional impetus for further progressive development across the entire spectrum of their cooperation.

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