- India has had very strong relations with countries in Central Asia especially the ones which were part of the Ancient Silk Route and Kyrgyzstan is no exception.
- During the Soviet era, India and the then Kyrgyzia Republic had limited political, economic and cultural contacts.
- India was among the first countries to set up diplomatic relations with the independence of Kyrgyz Republic in 1992 since its independence on 31 August 1991.
- Subsequently, the resident Mission of India was set up in 1994.
- In 1995, India had extended a US$5 million line of credit to Kyrgyzstan; out of this, US$2.78 million were paid out for four projects. Kyrgyz side repaid US$ 1.66 million and the balance amount was converted to grant.
- Government of India provided assistance for setting up a mountain bio-medical research centre in Kyrgyzstan at Too Ashu Pass at a cost of Rs. 6.5 crores.
- India’s economic involvement in Kyrgyzstan majorly include technical assistance to Kyrgyz under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Program.
- The program is active particularly in terms of human resources development.
- Kyrgyzstan has utilised 85 slots for 2014-15. More than 1040 professionals from Kyrgyzstan have received training in India since 1992. 90 slots have been received for 2015-16.
- About 4500 Indian students are studying medicine in various medical institutions in Kyrgyzstan. A few businessmen are engaged in trade and services in Kyrgyzstan.
- India has progressively strengthened its bilateral defence cooperation with Kyrgyzstan in the fields of military exercises, training, jungle warfare, information technology and counter-terrorism over the last few years.
- The Kyrgyz Armed Forces receive training from India for various military operations and India expanded the scope of defence cooperation between the two nations.
- Political ties with the Kyrgyz Republic have been traditionally warm and friendly.
- Kyrgyzstan is among those countries to be largely supportive of India’s stand on Kashmir and have welcomed the ongoing peace process.
- Besides, Kyrgyzstan also supports India’s bid for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council and India’s full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
- Both India and Kyrgyzstan share common concerns on threat of terrorism, extremism and drug–trafficking.
- The two countries have signed several model agreements, including on Culture, Trade and Economic Cooperation, Civil Aviation, etc. since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992.
- The Indo-Kyrgyz diplomatic relations reached its 20th year in 2012.
- Indo-Kyrgyz trade rose 19% to US$ 37.12 million in 2012-13.
- India’s exports grew over 15% to US$ 34.99 million whereas Kyrgyz exports to India grew from US$ 0.67 million to US$ 2.13 million in 2013-14.
- India-Kyrgyz trade was US$38.53 million in 2014-15. India’s exports to Kyrgyzstan was US$37.76 million whereas Kyrgyz exports to India was US$0.77 million.
- India-Kyrgyz trade was US$27.99 million in 2015-16. India’s exports to Kyrgyzstan was US$26.20 million whereas Kyrgyz exports to India was US$1.79 million.
- India’s exports to Kyrgyz mainly include apparel and clothing, leather goods, drugs & pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, tea and etc.
- Kyrgyz exports to India consist of raw hides, ores & metal scrap etc.
- Around 20 Indian companies are represented in Kyrgyzstan.
- Kyrgyzstan appeals as an opportunity in sectors such as mining, agro-food, construction, pharma, gems and jewellery, IT etc. to Indian entrepreneurs to explore business.
Recent visit of Kyrgyzstan President to India
- Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev arrived on a 4-day official visit to India on Dec 18, 2016.
- India and Kyrgyzstan have signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)/ Agreements including in the fields of tourism, agriculture and food industry etc.
- These agreements were signed after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi.
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism.
- MoU in the field of cooperation in youth exchange.
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Youth development.
- MoU on exchange of information on training programmes of diplomats.
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Food Industry.
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Broadcasting and exchange of audio-visual programmes.
Conclusion and Future Trends
- With about 20 tonnes of annual gold output Kyrgyzstan is an important gold producer.
- Neighbouring Tajikistan has deposits of precious and semi-precious stones and India has always been a large market for jewellery and ornament manufacturing.
- India can explore jewellery fabrication in Kyrgyzstan thereby, improving international quality of products and increasing employment and revenue for Kyrgyzstan.
- The tourism and hospitality sector is fast growing in Kyrgyzstan. The country has numerous natural tourist sites, such as the world famous Lake Issyk Kul.
- It may be surprising to note that a small country of 5.5 million people attracted more than 3 million tourists in 2013.
- Indian government and tourism operators can surely convert this picturesque location to a tourist destination.
- It is another promising area of future development.
- Kyrgyz farmers generally don’t use fertilisers and there are huge tracts of lands available, hence, enabling copious scope for organic farming and organic produce, which is in demand in the nearby European markets, and increasingly in India.
- Also, the similarity in the topography of Kyrgyzstan and Jammu & Kashmir state of India gives an opportunity to probe joint saffron cultivation and floriculture as practised in the Indian state.
4. Entertainment industry
- Bollywood has been significantly increasing in terms of size over the past few decades and is very popular in Kyrgyzstan.
- The scenic beauty in Kyrgyzstan offers the Indian film industry, an affordable and close-by locales to shoot Indian films, commercials and TV serials.
- This will help substantially in lowering the cost of film production in India and spreading out Indian audio-visual market in the region.