NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from Kyrgyzstan on Saturday, on the last leg of her three-nation Central Asian tour. She was received at the airport by Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov on her first visit to the country.
Apart from meeting the political leadership, she is expected to interact with the local Indian community and offer a tribute at the memorial of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Indian Prime Minister who died in mysterious circumstances there on January 11, 1966, a day after signing the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistan's President Mohammed Ayub Khan.
In Kyrgyzstan, Swaraj had meetings with President Sooronboi Jeenbekov, and held restricted and extended formal talks with foreign minister Erlan Abdyldaev at Cholpon Ata, a resort town in Issyk Kul.
A host of issues covering as of bilateral cooperation, including political and parliamentary exchanges, defence and security, science and technology, economic, health and tourism, as well as important regional issues were discussed. She also met senior officials from IT, health, tourism, energy and natural resources of the Kyrgyz government to discuss possible areas of collaboration.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the country in July 2015.
Before her departure, she took a walk along the shore of the picturesque lake Issyk Kul, the second largest mountain lake in the world surrounded by snow-capped peaks of Tian Shan mountain, with foreign minister Abdyldaev.
Swaraj began her trip on August 2 at Astana, Kazakhstan, where she met Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Bakytzhan Sagintayev, and exchanged views on strengthening cooperation in trade and investment, ICT, joint film production, agriculture, space, tourism and people-to-people contacts.
Kazakhstan is India's largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia. "I discussed with the Foreign Minister about our interest to partner with Kazakhstan to explore markets for new products, diversifying from trade in traditional products to inject fresh impetus to trade between the two countries," she said after delegation-level talks with her counterpart Kairat Abdrakhnanov at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Astana.
Later, addressing a small gathering of the Indian community there, she said: "I have been told that Astana is the second coldest capital of the world but the warmth of Kazakh people do not let you feel this chill!"