India and Uzbekistan, the energy-rich Central Asian nation, Wednesday signed 34 pacts in diverse areas, including pharmaceuticals and hydrocarbons, and agreed to cooperate closely in stabilising Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with Uzbek President Islam Abduganievich Karimov, who is here on a two-day visit, on a wide range of issues, including economic ties and closer cooperation in areas ranging from education, health and human resource development to energy, science and technology, tourism and culture.
"Both leaders agreed to elevate the bilateral relationship to a long-term and strategic partnership based on equality and mutual understanding," the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
The two leaders "condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations".
"The leaders had a detailed discussion on the continuing unstable situation in Afghanistan and underlined the importance of early establishment of peace and stability in the country," the ministry said.
Manmohan Singh, who visited Kabul last week, shared his perspectives on the evolving situation in Afghanistan and reiterated India's resolve to assist in the development of that country.
More than 30 bilateral agreements were concluded at the government level and between business entities in areas such as information technology, pharmaceuticals, standardisation, small and medium enterprises, coal, oil and gas, science and technology, banking and tourism.
Uzbekistan reaffirmed support for India's candidature for permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council.
The two sides also resolved to expand their cooperation within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
India is currently an observer at the SCO and is keen to become a member of the six-nation Central Asian organisation.