India, Uzbekistan sign 17 agreements in various fields to strengthen ties

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev ahead of their meeting in New Delhi, India, on Oct. 1, 2018. India and Uzbekistan Monday signed 17 agreements in various fields including security and defense to strengthen ties in various fields, Indian foreign ministry officials said. (Xinhua/Partha Sarkar)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev held comprehensive talks on Monday to broaden the scope of bilateral partnership and step up cooperation in key areas such as defence and counter-terrorism.

The two sides signed 17 pacts in the sectors of defence, agriculture, science and technology and space, among others, which was termed “historic” by the Uzbek President.

The two leaders also discussed regional security, including the situation in Afghanistan, and asserted that dialogue was the only way to bring peace in the war-torn country.

“We have had very comprehensive discussions. We have taken a long-term view to deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries,” a statement quoted Modi as saying. On his part, Mirziyoyev said the strategic partnership with India is “one of the most important priorities” of Uzbekistan.

Defence has been an important aspect in the India-Uzbekistan ties. In this regard, the two sides agreed to work closely to expand and strengthen defence ties as well as defence industry cooperation, the joint statement said.

Both sides have agreed to hold joint military training exercises in counter-terrorism and cooperate in the field of military education and medicine, it said.

They agreed to strengthen cooperation between the law enforcement agencies and special services of the two countries, including under the framework of the Uzbekistan-India Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.

Both sides have also called for early finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

Uzbekistan will also set up a defence wing at its embassy here, the statement said.

Noting the importance of a safe and secure regional environment for development and prosperity, the two sides agreed to work closely in addressing threats and challenges to national as well as regional security.

Modi said a stable, democratic, inclusive and prosperous Afghanistan was beneficial for everyone. “The two countries have decided to have regular contact in this regard,” he said.                 PTI

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