During his visit to Astana on 8th-9th June, 2017 to participate in the SCO Summit, Prime Minister Modi met Presidents of Kazakhstan, China, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Prime Minister Modi and Kazakh President Nazarbayev held discussions on a number of issues and reviewed progress of agreements signed between two nations including supply of uranium to India. Kazakhstan has emerged as the number one supplier of uranium to India. Two shipments of uranium were received over last two years. 

In their bilateral meeting, Modi told Xi that the two sides should strengthen their coordination and communication in international affairs, respect each other’s core concerns and appropriately handle their differences.

Discussions between PM Modi and Uzbek President took place on political issues including Afghanistan, counter-terrorism, threat of radicalization as well as on bilateral economic cooperation and medical tourism.

In the meeting with Afghan President, both leaders agreed that India’s membership of SCO would help in promotion of closer cooperation within the bloc, including fight against terrorism.
Prime Ministers Modi and Nawaz Sharif briefly exchanged pleasantries at a cultural gala in Astana prior to start of SCO Summit. It was the first encounter between them since their last meeting in Lahore on December 25, 2015, when the Indian Prime Minister made a surprise stopover on way back from Kabul.

PM Modi announced the launch of two weekly flights to connect Delhi with Astana from first week of July. This will bring the two countries closer.

Indian low cost carrier, GoAir, plans to launch direct flights to nine countries, including Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan by the year end.

India’s national pavilion at International Exhibition Expo 2017 (June 10- September 10) in Astana, Kazakhstan is a major attraction for visitors. More than 100 countries and over 10 international organizations are participating in the Expo. 

India and Russia announced launch of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between India and Eurasian Economic Union (EEAU) at their summit meeting in St Petersburg on June 1. Members of EEAU are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Earlier, a feasibility study predicted that an FTA between India and EEAU would help increase India’s exports to EEAU by $14-24 billion from the 2016 level of $1.7 billion. India’s exports of processed food, tea, pharmaceuticals, textiles, chemicals, fertilisers, electrical equipment and machinery etc to EEAU countries are likely to increase significantly if the pact is signed.

Joint Secretary (Counter-Terrorism), Ministry of External Affairs led a 7-member delegation to Dushanbe for the 3rd session of India-Tajikistan Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism. 
3rd International Day of Yoga was celebrated in all Central Asian countries with great enthusiasm and fervour. Yoga enthusiasts, local government representatives, diplomatic missions and members of Indian community participated in the yoga sessions.  

A 3-member Indian motor-bike expedition team visited Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia. 

On 6 June the first batch of 20 Tajik experts went to India for training in space applications in land management. 

A delegation led by Deputy NSA visited Ashgabat for discussions on cooperation in security and defence areas. Meetings with Deputy PM and Foreign Minister, and Defence Minister were held.

 

June 30, 2017

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About the Author

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar

Former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia; President, Institute of Global Studies and Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar belongs to the Indian Foreign Service and has acquitted his responsibilities in the diplomatic service for 34 years. He was Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia and has worked in senior diplomatic positions in Indian Embassies/Missions in Washington DC, Brussels, Moscow, Geneva, Tehran, Dhaka and Bangkok and also at Headquarters in India. He negotiated for India in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and in negotiations for India-EU, India-ASEAN and India-Thailand Free Trade Agreements.

He contributed significantly to strengthening strategic ties and promoting cultural cooperation between India and USA, EU, Russia and other countries.Ambassador Sajjanhar worked as head of National Foundation for Communal Harmony to promote amity and understanding between different religions, faiths and beliefs. Ambassador Sajjanhar has been decorated by Governments of Kazakhstan and Latvia with their National Awards and by Universal Peace Federation with Title of ''Ambassador of Peace.'' Currently Ambassador Sajjanhar is President of Institute of Global Studies, New Delhi. He writes, travels and speaks extensively on issues relating to international relations, foreign policy and themes of contemporary relevance and significance. He appears widely on TV panel discussions. Ambassador Sajjanhar is interested in reading, music and travelling. His wife Madhu is an economist and an educationist. They have a son and a daughter both of who are accomplished singers. Their son passed out of Yale University and their daughter is pursuing her PhD at University of Minnesota.