Swaraj leaves for home after Central Asian tour

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI file photo

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday left for home from Uzbekistan after a "positive and productive" trip to three Central Asian nations to help boost India's partnership with the strategic and resource-rich region.

Earlier in the day, Swaraj met President Shavkat Mirziyoyev here in the Uzbek capital.

"Meeting that lasted 100 minutes! EAM @SushmaSwaraj called on President of #Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Tashkent. Substantive discussion on steps to strengthen our strategic partnership across all sectors. India looks forward to visit of President Mirziyoyev later this year," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

The minister also paid floral tributes at the bust of India's second prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri at his memorial in Tashkent.

Swaraj later left for home.

"Deepening our historical and cultural bond with Central Asia! EAM @sushmaswaraj departs from Tashkent after a positive & productive 4-day trip to three countries that helped reinvigorate our partnership with this strategic region. Seen off by Uzbek Foreign Minister Kamilov," Kumar said.

Swaraj, who arrived here yesterday on her first visit to Uzbekistan, visited the Shastri memorial this morning.

"EAM Sushma Swaraj paying floral tribute to freedom fighter and 2nd Prime Minister of India Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri at his memorial in Tashkent," Kumar tweeted along with a photograph of the minister.

At the memorial, Swaraj also met with Yakov Shapiro who sculpted the bronze bust of Shastri.

Shastri had died in Tashkent in January, 1966 after signing the Tashkent Declaration that formally ended the war between India and Pakistan.

A memorial was built here in his memory.

Swaraj also met with Speaker of Uzbekistan's Legislative Assembly Nurdinjon Ismoilov and discussed the role of Parliament in fostering closer people-to-people relationship.

"EAM Sushma Swaraj met the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Oliy Majlis (Parliament) of Uzbekistan Nurdinjon Ismoilov and representatives of political fractions in their Parliament. Discussed the role of Parliament in fostering closer people-to-people relationship," Kumar said.

Swaraj also addressed the Indian community here and inaugurated a mango festival.

"Promoting Indian mangoes in Uzbekistan! EAM Sushma Swaraj inaugurated a Mango Festival organised by the Government of Uttar Pradesh with participation of mango exporters in Tashkent. The exporters will visit fruit markets and meet fruit traders," Kumar tweeted.

Swaraj also interacted with Uzbek Indologists, Hindi teachers and students.

"EAM Sushma Swaraj: Love and appreciation for Indian culture is visible everywhere in Uzbekistan. Indian dance, music, films, cuisine, costume and now yoga are very popular," Kumar said.

"Country with a strong cultural affinity towards India! EAM Sushma Swaraj interacts with Uzbek Indologists, Hindi teachers and students, and ITEC and ICCR alumni in Tashkent. They play an important role in promoting academic exchanges and people to people contacts," he said.

Swaraj had called on Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov and held bilateral discussions yesterday.

India and Uzbekistan are strategic partners with strong historical and cultural linkages.

Swaraj was here on the final leg of her three-nation tour after her visit to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. 

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Swaraj leaves for home after Central Asian tour

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