Tashkent: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived here in Uzbekistan capital Monday, held talks with his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev at a meeting hall of the Tashkent airport.
Mirziyoyev, along with his Cabinet colleagues, had received Modi at the airport.
Modi, who arrived in Uzbekistan on the first leg of his eight-day visit to Central Asia and Russia, aims to enhance strategic, economic and energy ties besides attending Summits of BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Soon after arriving in Tashkent, the PM tweeted:
Hello Uzbekistan! I thank PM Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev for the warm welcome in Tashkent. Wonderful being here. pic.twitter.com/ixrBA0KjZ0
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 6, 2015
From Uzbekistan, Modi will go to Kazakhstan tomorrow. He will then travel to Russia on July 8, before flying to Turkmenistan on July 10, Kyrgyzstan on July 11 and Tajikistan on July 12.
The SCO Summit, to be held in Ufa in Russia, may see India getting the membership of the six-nation grouping comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which could be a major highlight of the visit.
During his trip, Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will meet on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Russia on July 10.
This would be the first formal meeting between the leaders of both the South Asian countries after May 2014, when PM Modi had invited leaders of all SAARC nations to attend his swearing-in ceremony.
Writing about the first leg of his visit on his Facebook page, Modi said his first stop will be Uzbekistan, where he will hold talks with President Islam Karimov and both sides would ink key agreements to strengthen cooperation.
Modi said he would be interacting with Indologists, students learning Hindi and members of the Indian community. There are over 3,000 Indians in Tashkent.
"It was in Tashkent that we lost one of our most popular and respected leaders, Lal Bahadur Shastri ji, who ignited our nation with the clarion call of 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan'. I will be paying my tributes to this proud son of India during the visit," Modi said.
The Summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), the important economies across the world, will focus on discussions on enhancing cooperation in economic field, including the possibility of trade in local currency.
With the BRICS Development Bank already set up, the Summit could look at the possibility of starting credit facility in local currency. The first head of the bank is noted Indian banker KV Kamath.
During the visit to five Central Asian nations, the first by an Indian Prime Minister to all of them together, the focus will be on enhancing trade, which is "not impressive", and cooperation in energy and security, the Ministry of External Affairs had said last week.
An effort will also be made to push the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project, which is crucial for India's energy needs as it will carry gas from Central Asia. It has been hampered because of lack of physical connectivity.
(With Agency inputs)