Context: Recently, the 10th Session of the India-Kyrgyz Republic Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation (IKIGC).
- Historically, India has had close contacts with Central Asia, especially countries that were part of the ancient Silk Route, including Kyrgyz Republic.
- During the Soviet era, India and the then Kyrgyz Republic had limited political, economic and cultural contacts.
Anniversary of Diplomatic relations:
- India was among the first Nations to establish a diplomatic relationship with the Kyrgyz Republic in March 1992
- The 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relationships between the two nations.
- The visit of the Indian Prime Minister to the Kyrgyz Republic in June 2019 had raised the relationship between two nations to the level of strategic partnership.
- The 10th India- Kyrgyz Republic Foreign Office Consultations took place in Bishkek on 20 April, 2019.
- Political ties with the Kyrgyz Republic have been traditionally warm and friendly.
- Kyrgyz Republic supported India in securing full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and also supports India’s bid for permanent seat at UNSC.
- Both countries share common concerns on threats of terrorism, extremism and drug–trafficking.
Trade and Commerce Cooperation:
- The India- Kyrgyz Republic Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation was set up in 1992.
- Connectivity remains one of the biggest challenges for trade between India and Kyrgyz Republic.
- Technical assistance under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Program, particularly in terms of human resources development, is an important component of India’s economic involvement in Kyrgyz Republic.
- Agreement on Defence Cooperation, signed in July 2015, has been an important milestone that has laid the framework for defence cooperation between the two sides.
- Joint Special Forces Exercise KHANJAR has now become an annual affair.
- The sixth ‘Khanjar’ exercise was conducted between Indian and Kyrgyz Special Forces in March, 2019 in Bishkek.
- Fifth exercise was conducted in India in CIJW School, Varaingte (Mizoram) in 2018.
India – Kyrgyzstan Joint Special Forces Exercise, 2022:
- The 9th Edition of this exercise was recently concluded in April 2022.
- Besides sharing special skills and techniques between participating Special Forces contingents, the joint training further strengthened the existing bond between India and Kyrgyzstan.
- There is a great appreciation for Indian culture.
- Kyrgyz Republic has established an India Study Centre in the prestigious National Library of Kyrgyz Republic on 14 November 2014.
- The Centre is running with the help of volunteers and imparts training in English and Hindi languages, Yoga and Kathak.
- Another centre has been opened in Kara Balta, near Bishkek. Numerous Kathak, yoga, Indian dance, fusion music and Bollywood workshops/concerts have been organized to propagate and popularise Indian culture and traditions.
- About 4500 Indian students are studying medicine in various medical institutions in Kyrgyzstan. A few businessmen are engaged in trade and services in Kyrgyzstan.
Significance India- Kyrgyzstan relations:
- Kyrgyzstan is important for India’s Central Asian policy and connectivity plans and the India-Central Asia Dialogue forum.
INDIA-CENTRAL ASIA DIALOGUE:
- It is a ministerial-level dialogue between India and the Central Asian countries namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
- All these Central Asian countries gained independence after collapsing of USSR.
- All the countries participating in the dialogue, except for Turkmenistan, are also members of the SCO.
- The dialogue focuses on several issues including ways to improve connectivity and stabilize war-ravaged Afghanistan.
- Recent Development between India and Central Asia Relations:
- India has a USD 1 billion Line of Credit for projects in Central Asia.
- To improve connectivity by using the Chabahar Port for enhancing trade between the two sides.
- The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
- International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) in combination with Ashgabat Agreement on International Transport and Transit Corridor (ITTC) is enhancing connectivity between India and the Central Asian countries.
- India assisted by supplying Covid-19 vaccines and essential medicines during the early stage of the pandemic.
- In January 2022 the Prime Minister of India hosted the first India-Central Asia Summit in virtual format.