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New Delhi Correspondent
India and Uzbekistan signed 17 agreements on Monday to boost relations in key areas including defence after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on a host of bilateral and regional issues such as Afghanistan and counter-terrorism.
The two countries also decided to hold joint military training exercises in counter-terrorism and cooperate in the field of military education and medicine, a joint statement issued after the talks between the leaders said.
The two leaders also agreed to strengthen collaboration between law enforcement agencies of the two countries under the framework of the Uzbekistan-India Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, the document said.
“We have had very comprehensive discussions. We have taken a long-term view to deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries,” Modi said at a joint media event with the Uzbekistan president.

The two sides signed 17 pacts in sectors of defence, agriculture, science and technology and space, among others, which was termed “historic” by the Uzbek president.

Modi and Mirziyoyev also discussed regional security, including the situation in Afghanistan, and said dialogue was the only way to bring peace in the war-torn country.

On the defence front, the two sides agreed to work closely to expand and strengthen defence ties as well as defence industry cooperation, the joint statement said.
Noting the importance of a safe and secure regional environment for development and prosperity, the two sides agreed to work closely in addressing threats and challenges to national as well as regional security.

Modi said a stable, democratic, inclusive and prosperous Afghanistan was beneficial for everyone. “The two countries have decided to have regular contact in this regard,” he said. Mirziyoyev said the “common opinion” of the two countries was that “there is no military solution to this problem. The only way to peace is a political dialogue between the government of Afghanistan and the opposition.”

“The sides shared the view that countering terrorism in all its forms and manifestations without distinction is important for sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan. They expressed continued support for reconstruction of the country, the statement said.

The two leaders also discussed connectivity in the region and agreed to explore various options to enhance surface connectivity between them.