Indian Vice-Presidents Visits Uzbekistan
Wednesday 22 May 2013
TASHKENT (The Hindu) – In a four-day visit to Uzbekistan, the Indian Vice-President, accompanied by Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanti Natarajan and MPs E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Shivanand Tiwari, K.N. Balagopal and Sumitra Jayant Mahajan, are discussing on issues of common interest, including counter-terrorism and future of Afghanistan.
Wednesday, Ansari and Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov met and discussed a variety of issues. They specially shared the view that any outside interference in internal affairs of Afghanistan could prove to be counter-productive, in the backdrop of the proposed withdrawal of the U.S. forces by 2014. The Indian Vice-President noted that Uzbek-Indian relations elevated to the level of strategic partnership as both the countries were facing challenges from terrorism and extremism. India is poised to play a critical role in protecting and maintaining peace and stability in Central Asia in the backdrop of developments in Afghanistan and India’s strategic partnership with Afghanistan’s neighbours like Uzbekistan is of critical importance, Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari emphasized.
Briefing journalists later, Sudhir Vyas, Secretary, West in Ministry of External Affairs, said Uzbekistan was inviting Indian investments. Uzbekistan had set up a special economic zone in which three Indian companies had already set up their units for manufacturing tablets, auto parts and smart phones. Tashkent was looking for investments from India in small businesses, I.T, textiles, tourism and pharmaceutical sectors. Currently, over 60 Indian companies were functioning in Uzbekistan. Previously, in an interaction with journalists on aboard Air India-1, Mr. Ansari said India would explore the possibility of getting uranium supplies from Uzbekistan.
The two countries today signed a MoU on the upgrading of the Jawaharlal Nehru India-Uzbekistan Centre for Information Technology in Tashkent. The IT Centre in Tashkent was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Uzbekistan in 2006. Decision to upgrade this centre was taken during the visit of President Karimov to India in May, 2011. The follow up action was decided during the visit of Minister of State for IT Sachin Pilot. A team of C-DAC earlier visited Uzbekistan in 2012 to examine the possibilities of upgrading of the centre. The upgrading is expected to be completed during the financial year 2013-14.