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India moves closer to Uzbekistan

Last updated on: April 27, 2006 09:28 IST

India and Uzbekistan have agreed to step up joint efforts to combat terrorism, extremism and fundamentalism, and step up economic and commercial cooperation.

Addressing a joint press conference Wednesday with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov after a delegation level meeting at his Durmen residence, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: "President Karimov and I have had very fruitful discussions this morning, continuing upon our last meeting in New Delhi a year ago. We are satisfied with the steady growth in our multi-dimensional relationship."

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According to Dr Singh, "Central Asia is strategically an important region and has historically been at the crossroads of the Eastern and Western worlds. We wish for continued stability and economic prosperity for our friends in Uzbekistan.

"We have had very close political and economic relations and are cooperating in activities for training of defence personnel. Both our countries face the common threats of terrorism, fundamentalism and religious extremism and President Karimov and I have resolved to continue to work together to combat these dangers.

"During the talks we have decided to qualitatively enhance our commercial and economic relationship.

'The Uzbek people love Indians' 

"India's strengths are in the service industry and human resources development. The Jawaharlal Nehru India Uzbekistan Centre for Information Technology to be inaugurated this afternoon would be a symbol of our commitment to support Uzbekistan in training qualified personnel for emerging industries.

"I am happy that President Karimov has accepted our offer to set up an Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Tashkent which would be an important training ground for young businessmen and would lead to generation of employment.

"We are also taking an initiative to provide satellite-based tele-education and tele-medicine connectivity between India and Uzbekistan which would be a demonstration of cutting edge technological and human resource cooperation between our two countries.

Significant Indo-Uzbek ties ahead 

"I am also happy to note that we have agreed to cooperate in the fields of oil and natural gas exploration and production. We see Uzbekistan as an important element in any effort to optimally utilise the energy resources of Central Asia. India will also cooperate with Uzbekistan in exploration and development of its vast geological and mineral resources.

He then thanked "President Karimov and the people of Uzbekistan for their traditional warmth and affection for India. Both our countries are committed to regional stability, world peace and economic growth and prosperity of our peoples. We will continue to work together to achieve our common objectives."

Ramananda Sengupta in Tashkent