M A I N   N E W S

Post-2014 Afghan scenario
India, Uzbekistan to oppose outside interference
Arun Joshi in Tashkent

India and Uzbekistan on Wednesday resolved to work jointly for peace and development in Afghanistan. The two countries said any external interference in Afghanistan would be “counter-productive” and if any such eventuality arose, they would resist it by taking up the matter at various international forums. Steps would, however, be initiated only after studying the post-2014 scenario in the war-torn country.

This is what emerged after 105-minute meeting between Indian Vice-President M Hamid Ansari and Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov. The discussion between Ansari and Karimov centered on the post-2014 scenario in Afghanistan and there was complete unanimity on the issue between the two sides, said Joint Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Sudhir Vyas. They discussed issues like pullout of western forces and the possibility of terrorism spreading its tentacles to neighbouring countries like India and Uzbekistan.

Vyas told mediapersons that the commonality of approach to help Afghanistan and resist external interference was based on past experience. Both countries also made it more than clear that they would support any Afghan-centric political process and show zero tolerance to any military interference.

“The need for united cooperation in preventing external interference cannot be over emphasised,” Vyas said. “We will move with coordinated will and take up the matter at the international forums,” he added. The two countries also discussed coordinated counter-terrorism strategies.

The second most important area of discussions centred on carrying forward India-Uzbekistan bilateral ties to the next level. While India wanted export of Uzbekistan’s resources like gas and oil, Uzbekistan sought Indian investment in business and tourism promotion between the two countries.

Ansari also held discussions with chairman of the Senate of Oliy Majlis I Sobirov and and speaker of the Majlis D Tashmukhamedova. Earlier during the day, he laid a wreath at the statue of late Prime Minister of India Lal Bhadhur Shastri, who died in Tashkent after signing an agreement with the then Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan to end hostilities after the 1965 India-Pakistan war.




Tashkent youth nurture their city, country
Arun Joshi in Tashkent

It has something more to tell than apart from its history that dots every few yards of this capital city of Uzbekistan - from shrines to museums. The country is loved by its people and they are nurturing it literally to make it more attractive for themselves and also for the outside world.

A few yards away from the hotel Miran International, where Indian mediapersons accompanying Vice-President M Hamid Ansari have been lodged, students of a local medical college PF Barodskiy are cleaning their college premises. Some are busy in mopping the road leading to their college, others are watering plants. There is also some time for fun, as they shower water at one another.

There is a mix of boys and girls engaged in this task and they are enjoying every bit of it. The local time is 7.30 am. And the job they are doing is striking the visitors, especially the Indians. “I am doing it for my city and my country,” says Abdugahhor, second year student of the medical college, in halting English. He can speak Russian and Uzbek fluently, but his spoken English is at best that of an elementary level.

He has a blue colour plastic bucket in his hands. He picks up the bucket waist high and then bends himself a little bit and showers the marigold plants. “We do it voluntarily, this is our interest,” the student says. “This gives us satisfaction that we are doing something for our country,” he adds and asserts: “This is Uzbek spirit”. 



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