India announces $200 million line of credit for Kyrgyzstan
India on Monday announced a $200-million line of credit for Kyrgyzstan and signed an agreement to carry out small but high impact projects for community development in the Central Asian state.
The two initiatives were among several measures announced by external affairs minister S Jaishankar at the end of a two-day visit to Kyrgyzstan. Jaishankar is currently on a three-nation tour that will also take him to Kazakhstan and Armenia.
Jaishankar said the Kyrgyz government accepted India’s formal offer of the $200-million line of credit, while the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on high impact community development projects will enable the speedy implementation of ventures in different sectors with full grant funding. The two initiatives will take the “development partnership to the next level”, he said.
Kyrgyz foreign minister Ruslan Kazakbaev and Jaishankar discussed recent developments, particularly the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for the peace and security of the region.
“We are closely following the developments in Afghanistan. It concerns all of us. Any instability in Afghanistan will have an impact on the region. There are expectations of the international community from the current regime in Afghanistan, which are adequately elaborated in the UN Security Council resolution 2593,” Jaishankar said.
The resolution, adopted during India’s presidency of the Security Council in August, includes provisions for preventing the use of Afghan soil for terrorism and negotiations to create an inclusive government in Kabul.
Jaishankar said defence and security cooperation has an important place in India-Kyrgyzstan relations because of a common interest in peace and security. “We evaluated our defence exchanges and personnel training very positively. We agreed to continue cooperation in the fields of high-altitude training and biomedical research,” he said.
He announced several other initiatives in fields as diverse as telemedicine and culture. Telemedicine centres established by India have helped people in rural areas connect with medical facilities in cities, and the provision of a Bhabhatron or external beam radiation therapy machine has helped in the treatment of cancers, he said.
The Bhabhatron, a computer-controlled system used for radiation therapy, is based in Bishkek, and India is committed to providing another Bhabhatron for a hospital in Osh. India will also support the establishment of three more telemedicine centres in Batken, Jalal-Abad and Chui regions of Kyrgyzstan.
Jaishankar said the two countries had agreed to explore joint development projects in eco-tourism, jewellery design, pharmaceuticals, medicines, medical education, IT parks and data banks as part of their growing development partnership.
He said both countries need to make a concerted push to boost trade and investments. “The signing of the new bilateral investment treaty in 2019 and the mutual agreement on the date of entry into force of the Amended Protocol of the India-Kyrgyz Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement are important steps in that regard,” he added.
Kazakbaev and Jaishankar also agreed on steps to preserve and promote cultural links. Noting that the Indian side has organised several events as part of the Year of India-Kyrgyz Cultural Exchanges, Jaishankar said the picturesque lakes and peaks of Kyrgyzstan “offer excellent destinations for Bollywood productions”.
India was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Kyrgyzstan after the break-up of the erstwhile Soviet Union and establish diplomatic relations in 1992.