India-Kyrgyz Republic: 30 years of enduring development partnership

India and Kyrgyz Republic relations have traversed a positive trajectory since the establishment of diplomatic ties.  The recent visit by the External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar to the Kyrgyz Republic widens the horizon of the bilateral relations between both nations.

Due to its geo-strategic location and vast economic potential, the Central Asia Region holds great significance to India. On the same line to boost further cooperation, India will hold the first India-Central Asia Summit.

India to hold first India-Central Asia Summit:

In a major push towards its extended neighborhood policy, India will host the first meeting of the India-Central Asia Summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will, be hosting the first of its kind engagement between India and Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) in a virtual format on January 27, 2022.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, during the first India-Central Asia Summit, the leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights. During the high-level meeting, the leaders are expected to discuss the evolving regional security situation in the context of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

The announcement to hold the Summit followed, as the Government decided to go ahead with the Republic Day celebrations after the rising COVD-19 cases in the country canceled the visit of the leaders of five central Asian nations as the Chief Guests. However, no official announcement has been made in this regard.

India-Kyrgyz Republic Relations:

Following the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, the two countries have signed several framework agreements including on Culture, Trade and Economic Cooperation, Civil Aviation, Investment Promotion, and Protection, Avoidance of Double Taxation, Consular Convention, etc. Apart from the above area of cooperation, the two countries also share common concerns on the threat of terrorism, radicalism, and drug trafficking.

On the other hand, as part of the evolving development partnership, India had contributed the US $ 2 million to Kyrgyzstan for holding SCO Summit in Bishkek in June 2019. IT center at the Kyrgyz State University of Construction, Transportation and Architecture, Bishkek; Potato processing plant at Talas; language laboratory at the Diplomatic Academy, Bishkek; telemedicine links connecting six hospitals in Kyrgyzstan are some examples of the technical assistance provided to the Kyrgyz side.

Trade and economic ties:

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India-Kyrgyz Republic bilateral trade during 2018-2019 recorded US $ 32.60 million. India’s exports to the Kyrgyz Republic were US $ 30.02 million, while Kyrgyz exports to India was US $ 2.59 million.

Indian exports to Kyrgyzstan comprise readymade garments and textile products, pharmaceutical products, agro-food products (tea, coffee, and spices), colouring material, electrical and electronic products, machines, vehicles and spare parts, essential oils and cosmetics, perfumery, electric machines, footwear, precious stones, ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

While on the other hand, export from Kyrgyzstan to India include small volumes of jet fuel, meat and fish products, tanned leather, including defense industry products.

Further strengthening the ties, India-Kyrgyzstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IKIGC) was set up in 1992. During the 7th session held in New Delhi on 17-18 Mar ’15, two MOUs on cooperation in the field of Textiles and Hydropower were signed. The 9th Session of the IKIGC was held in New Delhi in 2018 led by Secretary (Commerce).

Bilateral Visits:

The growing strategic partnership between India and the Kyrgyz Republic can also be asserted with a number of high-level mutual visits held between both nations. Recently, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar paid an official two-day visit to the Kyrgyz Republic in October 2021. During his visit, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar extended a $200 million Line of Credit support for development projects in Kyrgyzstan along with the signing of the MoU on High Impact Community Development Projects. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Kyrgyzstan twice, first in 2015 and later in the year 2019.

During PM Modi’s 2019 visit to the nation, India and the Kyrgyz Republic signed the Joint Declaration on Establishing Strategic Partnership followed by the signing of 15 documents, including the Bilateral Investment Treaty, Road map on Trade and Economic Cooperation between the Republic of India and the Kyrgyz Republic for the Five-Year period (2019-2024), MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health, MoU between Export-Import Bank of India and the Investment Promotion and Protection Agency of the Kyrgyz Republic among others.

The recent bilateral visits followed by the Kyrgyz side include President Sooronbay Jeenbekov visit to India on 30 May 2019. Former President Almazbek Atambayev also paid an official visit to India in December 2016.

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