Expressing concern over the issue of terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that India is looking forward to combating the menace along with Uzbekistan, besides enhancing bilateral ties with the country.
Modi arrived in the Uzbek capital on the first leg of his eight-day visit to Central Asia and Russia, where he is scheduled to attend the seventh BRICS summit. He held talks with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov and the two countries inked three pacts to boost cooperation between their foreign offices and in the field of culture and tourism.
“I and the president discussed regional and international issues including the situation of Afghanistan. We also shared our concerns on the rising threat of extremism and terrorism in our extended neighbourhood,” he said.
Modi said he briefed Karimov about the International North South Transport Corridor and proposed that Uzbekistan become a member. “I sought his support for India joining the Ashgabat Agreement” -- a transport corridor that would link Central Asia to the seaports in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.
Modi said his five-nation tour of Central Asia reflects India’s resolve to start a new era in ties with the Central Asian republics.
On July 9, Modi will join President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma in Russia’s Ufa for the BRICS summit
The New Development Bank will be operationalised at the summit.
BRICS not ready for free trade zone
A top Russian minister said that BRICS nations are not “psychologically ready” to sign a free trade zone deal but may sign an agreement on more profound economic integration in the next five years,
“It is now premature to talk about the BRICS economic agreement. But if the approach and the crystallisation of our association as an international group will take place at the same pace as now, the economic agreement within a few years will be inevitable,” first deputy economic development minister Alexei Likhachev said.