MoS Meenakshi Lekhi discussed bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation during a visit to Uzbekistan

India and Uzbekistan have discussed the importance of maintaining close and regular consultations on the evolving situation in Afghanistan and the need to ensure that the territory of Afghanistan is not allowed to be used for any terror activities.

The issue was discussed by visiting Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs and Culture Meenakshi Lekhi during her meeting with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.

They discussed important areas of bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release issued on Monday.

The visit from September 23-26 was Lekhi's first official visit to any Central Asian country after assuming charge.

The MoS emphasised on expeditious implementation of development projects in Uzbekistan under the USD 1 billion Line of Credit given by India, the MEA stated.

Both sides also agreed on concluding the ongoing negotiations for the proposed Bilateral Investment Agreement at the earliest.

MoS Lekhi conveyed India’s full support to the current Uzbek Presidency of the SCO.

During the visit, she also met with Uzbekistan's Culture Minister Ozodbek Nazarbekov.

They had a productive discussion on further intensifying cooperation in different spheres of culture given the deep cultural and civilisational connect between India and Uzbekistan, the MEA said.

These included cooperation in the field of archives, films, preservation of Buddhist sites, creation of ‘India Study Rooms’ in different Universities of Uzbekistan, and translation of literary works.

According to the MEA release, the Cultural Exchange Programme for the period 2021-25 was signed during the visit.

A 50-member strong Indian delegation comprising film personalities of India will be participating in the Tashkent Film Festival next week.

MoS Lekhi had a number of speaking engagements during her visit.

These included a lecture on ‘India’s democratic traditions’ at the Tashkent State University of Law and an address on ‘India-Uzbekistan relations- Strengthening Strategic Partnership’ at the Bukhara State University as part of " Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, it further mentioned.

She met distinguished indologists from the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies and other institutions and discussed ways to further promote India studies and philosophy in Uzbekistan.

MoS also had interactions with members of the Indian community in Tashkent and Indian students at Samarkand State Medical Institute.

She highlighted the positive contribution of the Indian diaspora abroad in strengthening of India’s relations with other countries including Uzbekistan.

According to the MEA release, the Indian community was also encouraged to participate actively in the celebrations of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

The visit provided further momentum to our strategic partnership with Uzbekistan by maintaining regular political exchanges and further consolidating our cultural ties, it added.