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Joint Statement on India-Uzbekistan Virtual Summit: Close Friendship, Strong Partnership

December 11, 2020

1. Prime Minister of the Republic of India Shri Narendra Modi and President of the Republic of Uzbekistan H.E. Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev co-chaired a Virtual Summit between India and Uzbekistan on 11 December, 2020.

2. Prime Minister Modi and President Mirziyoyev held an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations, the COVID-19 pandemic and regional and global issues of mutual interest. Both leaders expressed their continued commitment to take India-Uzbekistan strategic partnership to a new and higher level.

3. Recalling the visits of President of Uzbekistan to India in September 2018 and January 2019, Prime Minister of India expressed appreciation to the fact that agreements reached during these visits have further strengthened cooperation between India and Uzbekistan in diverse sectors such as political, trade and investment, defence, security, counter-terrorism, science and technology, nuclear energy, space, Information Technology and have promoted cultural and academic linkages.

4. The leaders took special note of regular high level exchanges between India and Uzbekistan including the visits of Chief Minister of Gujarat and Defence Minister of India to Uzbekistan in 2019 and those of Interior Minister and the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan to India in 2019 and 2020 respectively. They expressed satisfaction on the holding of the first meeting of the National Coordination Committee at the Ministerial level in August 2020 for monitoring implementation of various bilateral projects and agreements for timely and effective outcomes.

COVID-19 Pandemic

5. Taking stock of the considerable success achieved in their respective countries in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, both leaders emphasized on the need for bilateral and global cooperation to continue the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic including development and distribution of effective vaccines and other medicines. President of Uzbekistan thanked India for the assistance rendered to Uzbekistan in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Modi reaffirmed India’s continued commitment to support Uzbekistan in this regard.

Trade, Economic and Investment Cooperation

6. Recalling that both India and Uzbekistan have a mutually identified target of USD 1 billion for bilateral trade, the leaders stressed on the importance of making concerted efforts to achieve this target. They acknowledged that the current level of bilateral trade does not reflect the true potential of bilateral trade. The leaders instructed their officials to fast-track the conclusion of the ongoing Joint Feasibility Study that will pave the way for commencement of negotiations on a Preferential Trade Agreement.

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

8. The leaders agreed to strengthen mutual cooperation in the field of science, technologies and innovation by enhancing direct cooperation between government organizations, research institutes, innovation centres and technological enterprises of two countries.

9. The leaders highlighted the productive outcomes in the form of 23 B2B and G2G agreements and MoUs concluded during the visit of the business delegation from Gujarat led by Chief Minister Shri Vijay Rupani to Andijon in October 2019 and the return visit of an Uzbek business delegation to Gujarat in November 2019 within the framework of cooperation established between Gujarat and Andijon region. The Sides agreed to follow up on various investment projects identified during these visits, in particular, in the fields of pharmaceuticals, agriculture, textiles, gems & jewellery, information technology and others. The Sides agreed to encourage the development of direct contacts between more States of India and the regions of Uzbekistan.

10. The Sides also agreed to encourage establishment of direct contacts between the various chambers of commerce and industry from both countries and to enhance business exchanges through the established institutional mechanism of the Uzbekistan-India Business Council run by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Uzbekistan (Uz-CCI). In this regard, they also noted the holding of the 2nd session of India-Uzbekistan Business Forum in October 2020 with the participation of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Uz-CCI.

Development Cooperation

11. The Indian side confirmed the approval of USD 448 million of Line of Credit to be extended by India for four developmental projects in Uzbekistan in the fields of road construction, sewerage treatment and information technology. The Indian side reiterated its commitment to further deepen the development partnership between India and Uzbekistan, including under the framework of India-Central Asia dialogue.

12. 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.

13. The Uzbek side expressed its intention to use effectively the innovative grant financing mechanism of Government of India for undertaking community development projects in Uzbekistan under the MoU on High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs).

14. President of Uzbekistan thanked the Prime Minister of India for assistance for Uzbekistan-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre and noted that the Centre would not only help develop Entrepreneurs in sunrise as well as traditional sectors in Uzbekistan, but will also help in training and development of professionals, thereby realizing the full potential of the demographic dividend in Uzbekistan.

15. Both leaders noted the increasing G2G and B2B ties between both countries in the areas of Information Technology and Education sector. The Uzbek side thanked the Indian side for the deputation of an Indian expert to develop IT Parks in Uzbekistan. The Uzbek side noted that courses offered by the Indian Universities set up in Uzbekistan are sought after by the Uzbek students.

Defence and Security

16. Noting that defence is an important component of bilateral strategic partnership, the 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.

17. Noting the importance of a safe and secure regional environment for development and prosperity, the Sides agreed to cooperate in addressing threats and challenges to national as well as regional security. In this regard, the 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.

18. President of Uzbekistan welcomed the establishment of an India Room in the Armed Forces Academy of Uzbekistan and thanked for the Indian assistance in the ongoing development of an IT Room in the Academy.

Civil Nuclear Energy

19. Both Sides welcomed the deepening of their bilateral civil nuclear cooperation, in particular, the conclusion of the bilateral agreement between the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership, India and the Agency for Development of Nuclear Energy, Uzbekistan.

Connectivity

20. The Sides reiterated their continued commitment for enhancing connectivity between India and Uzbekistan and in the larger Central Asian region to bolster trade and investment. In this regard, the Indian side cited the successful functioning of the Chabahar port that could be a fulcrum of connectivity to Central Asia.

21. The Indian side welcomed the Uzbek proposal to hold trilateral dialogue among India, Iran and Uzbekistan to promote connectivity through the Chabahar port. The Indian side also requested the Uzbek side to consider joining the international North-South Transport Corridor which would add to the overall improvement of connectivity in the larger Eurasian space.

Culture, Education and People- to-People Contacts

22. Recalling the age-old cultural and civilizational links between India and Uzbekistan, the leaders stressed on the importance of promoting bilateral cooperation in cultural, educational and humanitarian spheres to further invigorate people-to-people contacts between the two countries.

23. The Sides expressed their appreciation for the 25 successful years of functioning of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Centre for Indian Culture in Tashkent and the role it has played in strengthening India-Uzbekistan cultural relations.

24. The Indian side invited the Uzbek side to avail of increased scholarship opportunities provided by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and training and capacity building under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. The Uzbek side conveyed its gratitude for the large number of useful ITEC and ICCR courses/programmes being offered by India. The Indian side also offered customized ITEC courses as per the requirements of the Uzbek side.

25. Both Sides welcomed the progress made in the field of educational cooperation between the two countries. The Uzbek side highly valued the opening of branches of the Amity University and the Sharda University in Tashkent and Andijon respectively which have been providing quality education in various vocational sectors, including IT, tourism and management.

Terrorism

26. 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.

27. The Sides agreed to further intensify cooperation under the bilateral Intergovernmental Agreement concluded by both Sides in October 2018 on mutual cooperation in combating illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors as well as Interagency Agreement signed in November 2019 on cooperation in the field of combating transnational organized crime and international terrorism.

Afghanistan

28. The leaders discussed the situation in Afghanistan and noted that 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 democratic Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

29. 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.

Reformed Multilateralism

30. The Sides reaffirmed that the United Nations must play a central role in maintaining global peace and security. They agreed to strengthen their cooperation, including through mutual support, in the United Nations and other international and regional organizations. The Sides called for comprehensive reform of the UN structures including the Security Council with expansion in both categories of membership. Uzbekistan reaffirmed its support to India’s candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council and congratulated India on its election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2021-22. The Indian side thanked the Uzbek side for its support to Indian candidature for the UNSC and congratulated the Uzbek side on its successful election to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the term 2021-23.

31. The Sides lauded their close cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Uzbekistan congratulated India on its successful holding of the Meeting of the Council of the Heads of Government of SCO on 30 November 2020 which was the first-ever HOG-level event hosted by India since its joining the SCO.

32. India thanked Uzbekistan for its support in the successful holding of the 2nd India-Central Asia Dialogue at the level of Foreign Ministers with the participation of Afghanistan. The Sides drew satisfaction from the successful institutionalization of the India-Central Asia Dialogue mechanism, the first meeting of which was hosted by Uzbekistan in Samarkand in January 2019 as a joint India-Uzbekistan initiative.

Conclusion

33. The leaders thanked each other for the productive discussions held during the Virtual Summit. They expressed confidence that the understandings and agreements reached during the Summit will further deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries for the well-being of their peoples and mutual prosperity.

34. His Excellency Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan reiterated the invitation to Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi to visit Uzbekistan at a convenient time.

New Delhi
December 11, 2020
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