Mon, 18 Jan 2021

New Delhi [India], December 11 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Friday strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and underlined the need for every country to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks against other countries.

In a joint statement issued after India-Uzbekistan Virtual Summit, the two countries also called for early finalisation of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

"The leaders strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed the determination of their countries to combat this menace by destroying terrorist safe-havens, networks, infrastructure and funding channels. They also underlined the need for every country to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks against other countries. Both sides called for an early finalization of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism," the statement said.

In his opening remarks during the summit, Prime Minister Modi said India and Uzbekistan share concerns about terrorism, extremism and separatism. "Both countries are standing together firmly against terrorism. We have similar views on issues of regional security," he said.

The statement said the two leaders acknowledged that the current level of bilateral trade does not reflect the true potential of bilateral trade and instructed their officials to fast-track the conclusion of the ongoing Joint Feasibility Study that will pave the way for the commencement of negotiations on a Preferential Trade Agreement.

They recalled that both India and Uzbekistan have a mutually identified target of USD 1 billion for bilateral trade and stressed on the importance of making concerted efforts to achieve this target.

The leaders agreed that both sides should work towards an early conclusion of the Bilateral Investment Treaty which shall facilitate investment promotion and protection for further improvement of trade and economic cooperation.

The two sides noted the prospects for greater opportunities in the free economic zones of the two countries, including in the Uzbek-Indian free pharmaceutical zone in the Andijan region. The Uzbek side welcomed the opportunities in India for investing / manufacturing under the 'Make in India' flagship programme of Government of India.

The leaders discussed the situation in Afghanistan and noted that the establishment of peace and stability in that country is of great importance to the security and stability of the entire region.

They called for the settlement of the Afghan conflict on the principle of Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process. India and Uzbekistan expressed their unanimity in their support for a united, sovereign and the democratic Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Appreciating the constructive role played by Uzbekistan, the two sides expressed their interest in strengthening cooperation for the development and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan, including through implementation of various development projects for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan and strengthening the institutions of Afghanistan.

"The sides agreed that it would be vitally important to preserve the socio-economic development and political gains achieved by Afghanistan in the last 19 years, including the rights of minorities, women and children," the statement said.

Asserting the importance of a safe and secure regional environment for development and prosperity, India and Uzbekistan agreed to cooperate in addressing threats and challenges to national as well as regional security.

"In this regard, the two sides welcomed the holding of the first bilateral dialogue between the National Security Councils in Tashkent in September 2019. The sides agreed to further 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," the statement said.

During the summit, India and Uzbekistan signed nine agreement/ Memoranda of Understandings including on High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) and on an exchange of information on pre-arrival of goods moved across the state border.

Indian side confirmed the approval of USD 448 million of Line of Credit to be extended by it for four developmental projects in Uzbekistan in the fields of road construction, sewerage treatment and information technology.

It reiterated its commitment to further deepen the development partnership between India and Uzbekistan, including under the framework of India-Central Asia dialogue.

The Uzbek side conveyed its desire to explore the possibility of implementing priority developmental projects in Uzbekistan as part of the USD 1 billion Line of Credit offered by India for Central Asian countries during the 2nd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue.

It expressed its intention to use effectively the innovative grant financing mechanism of the Indian government for undertaking community development projects in Uzbekistan under the MoU on High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs).

Noting that defence is an important component of bilateral strategic partnership, the two leaders appreciated the enhanced pace of bilateral defence cooperation since the convening of the first meeting of Joint Working Group on Defence Cooperation in February 2019.

"They welcomed the holding of the first-ever joint military exercises in November 2019 coinciding with the visit of Defence Minister of India to Uzbekistan. The Uzbek side noted that they highly value the quality of training and capacity building courses offered by India and called for closer cooperation in these areas," the statement said. (ANI)

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