Ansari, Islam Karimov hold discussions on regional peace and stability

India and Uzbekistan 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 and Uzbek diplomats on Wednesday deliberated on the Afghanistan situation, regional peace and stability for a considerable amount of time and the unanimous view that emerged was to support the Afghan-led political process. The issue of counter-terrorism too came up for a detailed discussion.

During the day, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov met and discussed a variety of issues.

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.

The centuries-old relations between Indian and Uzbekistan could provide a perfect platform to develop friendship and to meet they could be facing in future. There were discussions on the issues of connectivity in the region

The two countries discussed the issues of counter-terrorism and i connectivity in the region. They signed an MoU for upgrading the Jawaharlal Nehru India –Uzbekistan Centre for Information Technology in Tashkent. The work is slated to be completed by 2014. The Centre was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Uzbekistan in 2006.

Earlier, speaking at the banquet hosted by Chairman of the Senate, Iligzar Sobirov, Mr. Ansari underscored the need for increasing the intensity of the bilateral economic cooperation to match the political understanding and people-to-people affinity.

The Vice-President noted that Uzbek-India relations elevated to the level of strategic partnership as both the countries were facing challenges from terrorism and extremism. “We…need to work closely towards promoting peace and stability not just in our common region but in the entire world.”

Mr. Ansari had earlier laid a wreath at the monument of Independence and Humanism at Independent square. The Chairman of Senate of the Oily Majlis of Uzbekistan, I. Sobirov, speaker of the Oily Majlis, D. Tashmukhamedova and Minister for Foreign, Economic relations, investments and trade E. Ganiev, called on him.

Mr. Ansari paid tributes by laying a wreath at the statue of the former Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Sastry, who died in Tashkent on January 11, 1966, a day after he signed a ‘no-war’agreement with Pakistan.