ISLAMABAD, July 7, 2015 (MAMOSA Report) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated a Centre of Excellence in Astana with a Super Computer from India while stressing the need to work together to build the Silk Route of 21st Century.
PM Modi, who flew to Kazakhstan’s capital Astana from Uzbekistan earlier in the day, said the confluence of Indian and Islamic civilizations took place in Central Asia and enriched each other not only in spiritual thought but also in medicine, science, mathematics and astronomy.
“We have established Centres of Excellence in Information and Communication Technology in the region, and, we also pleased that we have three Indian cultural centres in the region,” Modi said while addressing the gathering at Nazarbayev University here.
PM Modi is on a 5-nation tour of the Central Asian countries who, except for Kazakhstan, form part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) — a regional security bloc led by China and Russia.
Both Pakistan and India are expected to join the security bloc at a summit in Russia later this week.
During his nearly half-an-hour speech, Modi touched upon other important issues including regional connectivity, establishment of a 21st century silk route and economic integration between India and Central Asian countries.
“The cities of Central Asia have become centres of yoga and Hindi, long before the world came together to celebrate the International Day of Yoga on 21st June,” which the Indian Prime Minister had celebrated by leading a mass Yoga in Delhi.
Modi also highlighted that, “Uzbekistan has recently completed fifty years of radio broadcast in Hindi. Our epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were popular on Uzbek TV as they were in India.”
“Many of you wait for the release of the latest Bollywood film with the same excitement as people in India.
“Our cooperation in energy sector has begun. Later today, we will launch the drilling of the first oil well with Indian investments in Kazakhstan.
“India constitutes one-sixth of humanity. It is a nation of 800 million youth that is an enormous force of progress and change for India and the world.
“We can harness our strength in information and communication technology to create wealth and opportunities for our youth. Today, I will inaugurate a Centre of Excellence in Astana with a Super Computer from India.
“I also hope that we can restore the traditional route to Central Asia through Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“We can draw confidence from the agreement between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India on the (TAPI) gas pipeline.
“This region has prospered the most when we have been connected.
“Indeed, our hopes of an Asian Century will be realized, when we see Asia as one – not as South, West, East or Central. Asia will rise when we all prosper together.
“For that, we must connect Asia’s different parts.
Addressing the gathering, Modi also made a strong pitch for enhanced defence and security cooperation with the Central Asian countries, saying, “We live at the frontier of instability. We live close to the crucible of extremism and terrorism. We see terrorism spawned by nations and groups. Today, we also see cyber space become a platform without borders for terror to draw recruits to its cause.
“So, during this visit, we will strengthen our defence and security cooperation in the region. But, we will also combat terrorism by the strength of our values and our commitment to humanism.”
WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTS:
India mostly exports tea and pharmaceuticals to Kazakhstan. Though mostly tea, making it one of India’s significant markets for the leaf.
But the value of India’s exports has remained modest and accounted for just 0.08% of India’s total export value in 2014-15.
Goods traveling the other way though have increased in value dramatically in the recent past. Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, the dollar worth of imports to India from Kazakhstan grew by 368%.
But one of the biggest obstacles to further increasing trade between the two countries is the lack of a road or rail route between them that does not pass through India’s rival Pakistan.
During a visit to India by Vladimir Shkolnik, Kazakhstan’s minister of energy, in June, the two countries agreed to explore the possibility of linking the new railway between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to the International North South Transport Corridor that will connect India with Central Asian countries among others.