India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his two-day visit to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on July 7, the second leg of his five-nation visit to Central Asia and Russia. He met his Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov after touching down at Astana. The two leaders discussed a wide array of bilateral and regional issues.
In an outreach to young Kazakh students, Prime Minister Modi spoke at Nazarbayev University, Astana in which he spoke about cultural linkages in form of yoga and Bollywood and outlined a robust vision of India’s expanding relationship with the resource-rich Central Asia. Describing Kazakhstan as a voice of responsibility in international affairs, Mr Modi backed Astana’s bid for non-permanent seat in the UN for 2017-18. Looking ahead to the SCO summit in Ufa, Russia, on July 9-10, Mr Modi said: “India’s membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will deepen our regional partnership.”
Here are some of the highlights from his speech at Nazarbayev University in Astana on July 7:
- I am delighted to be here. Mr. Prime Minister, I am deeply honoured that you have joined us today. You are a person of learning and many talents. I learnt today that your skills in Hindi and yoga are among them.
- It is a great privilege to embark on a journey of all five nations of Central Asia. This might be the first time this has happened.
- I am truly excited to visit a great country and a great region that has been called the pivot of human history. It is a land of beauty and cultural splendor, of outstanding achievements and great heroism
- The university reflects the vision of President Nazarbayev that education is the foundation of a nation’s progress and leadership.
- Kazakhstan is a voice of responsibility and maturity in international forums, including the United Nations.
- No Indian will forget Kazakhstan’s generosity in making way for India’s bid for the membership of the UN Security Council in 2011-12. We stand solidly behind you for your bid in 2017-18.
- Your success is as important for the region as it is for the world.
- Many of you wait for the release of the latest Bollywood film with the same excitement as people in India.
- India is prepared to invest more in a new partnership of prosperity.
- Central Asia is a natural destination for the Indian tourists.
- India’s membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will deepen our regional partnership.
- The International North South Transport Corridor opens a competitive and quick route for India to Eurasia. And, I hope all of Central Asia will join it.
- I also hope that we can restore the traditional route to Central Asia through Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- 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.
- Our former Prime Minister Vajpayee called for a New Silk Route Initiative here in 2002. We will all work together to build the Silk Route of the 21st century. We will connect through space and cyber as we will by air, land and sea.
- The region must remain stable and peaceful, free from conflict and the violence of extremism and terrorism.
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