India and Kyrgyzstan to boost defence cooperation

  • PTI, Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)
  • Updated: Jul 13, 2015 00:31 IST
PM Modi gestures to Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev at the Ala-Archa state residence in Bishkek on Sunday. (AFP Photo)

Seeking a peaceful and secure neighbourhood amidst threat of terrorism and extremism, India and Kyrgyzstan on Sunday signed four agreements, including one bolstering defence cooperation and holding annual joint military exercises.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived here on Saturday 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.

Modi underlined that the new agreement on defence cooperation would provide a “framework to broaden bilateral engagement” which would also include defence technology.

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.

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.

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