India and Kyrgyztan on Tuesday agreed to step up defence cooperation and investments, as they signed a bilateral investment pact.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev also decided to strengthen ties in security, mining, IT, agriculture and energy.
“We discussed how we could work together to secure our youth and society against common challenges of terrorism, extremism and radicalism. We agreed on the need to coordinate and work closely in addressing and overcoming these challenges for our common benefit,” Modi said in a media statement.
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During the deliberations, the two leaders reviewed the “cooperative engagement” in defence with Modi calling the Kyrgyz-India Mountain Bio-Medical Research Centre as an excellent example of successful collaboration.
Modi said work on a Kyrgyz-India Joint Military Training Centre in Kyrgyztan had commenced. Besides joint military exercises, the two countries have been cooperating on high-mountain biomedical research to ascertain the impact on soldiers when they carry out operations at high altitudes.
Aiming to broaden economic engagement, the two sides initialled a bilateral investment agreement. The six MoUs will provide for deeper cooperation in areas of agriculture, tourism, culture, broadcasting and youth affairs.
A joint statement said the two leaders noted the challenges posed by terrorism and extremism globally as well as in the Asian continent, and emphasised the importance of ensuring a stable and secure environment for peaceful economic development. “In this context, they also called for the adoption by the United Nations of the draft Comprehensive Convention on Combating International Terrorism,” it said.
Atambayev said he was not happy with the current volume of bilateral trade and that there was huge untapped potential for its expansion. Calling for further strengthening of ties, he said both countries were bound by historical links and common values like democracy and freedom of rights.
Talking about cultural links, he mentioned the popularity of Bollywood legend Raj Kapoor.
On economic engagement, PM Modi said both sides agreed to connect each other’s economies “more deeply”, adding that industry and business will be encouraged to play a leading role in seizing untapped opportunities.
“We will encourage industry and business on both sides to play a leading role in exploiting opportunities in healthcare, tourism, information technology, agriculture, mining and energy. We have decided to build on our development cooperation including in capacity building and training,” he said.