On his first visit to Central Asian countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held talks with Uzbek President Islam Karimov on key bilateral and regional issues including the situation in Afghanistan as the two countries inked three pacts to boost cooperation between their foreign offices and in the field of culture and tourism.
Modi, who arrived here in the Uzbek capital on the first leg of his eight-day visit to Central Asia and Russia, was received at the airport by his counterpart Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev and was accorded a ceremonial welcome.
During the talks, Modi and Karimov discussed ways to enhance strategic, economic and energy ties apart from reviewing key regional issues including the situation in war-torn Afghanistan.
Addressing a joint press event, Modi said,"I have begun my journey in Uzbekistan underlining its importance for India, not just in this region, but also in Asia. President Karimov and I discussed various initiatives to further enhance connectivity between India and Uzbekistan."
He said they also discussed international and regional issues including the situation in Afghanistan and reiterated the importance of peace and stability in the country.
And in this context, Modi said both the leaders talked about the rising threat of extremism and terrorism in the "extended neighbourhood" of the two countries.
Noting that in recent years, India and Uzbekistan have built a strategic partnership on the foundation of mutual respect and shared interests, Modi said he conveyed his keen interest to sustain regular high level dialogue between the two sides.
"I briefed President about the International North South Transport Corridor and proposed that Uzbekistan consider becoming a member," Modi said.