Describing Kyrgyztan as a "heaven for investments", its President Almazbek Atambayev on Wednesday invited Indian businesses to invest in the country, saying it could serve as a gateway to the entire Central Asian region.
Further, Atambayev promised protection to those investing in Kyrgyztan, observing that "businesses in the country will be protected irrespective of whoever becomes the President". Addressing a Business Forum here, he said: "From January 1, we are taking new measures where businessmen can be checked only by the tax department. Today, the business people are checked by the police and economic department. There is a lot of investigation."
Highlighting the benefits of investing in Kyrgyztan, Atambayev said: "In Kyrgyztan you will have long-term credit with 4 to 5 per cent. Don't be afraid (of investing).
"We are already member of the Customs Union with Belarus and Russia. If you do business in Kyrgyztan, there is no Customs duty and the Customs Union is a Preferential Trade zone."
The President also said that Kyrgyztan is the "key to the gate of Central Asia", adding "it is a small country but the key to the entire region".
Besides, the President mentioned that he has told Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting yesterday that Indians are coming almost every day of the year to Kyrgyztan.
"(He) Modi has a high opinion of Kyrgyztan," Atambayev noted.
The President also said that he has asked the Indian side to look into the visa regime, pointing out that Kyrgyztan has decided to ease the visa procedure and introduced electronic visa facility.
Besides, Y S Chowdary, Minister of State for Science and Technology & Earth Science, said that although bilateral trade between India and Kyrgyztan has widened over the years to USD 26.9 million in 2015-16, the current level of trade is "much below potential" which calls for concentrated efforts by both nations.
Both countries will have to play a proactive role to increase bilateral trade, he said. Elaborating on the cooperation potential, Chowdary said the two countries can collaborate in fields like agriculture, telemedicine and tourism.
India and Kyrgyztan yesterday firmed up broad contours of a bilateral investment agreement and inked six other pacts covering a range of areas even as they resolved to work closely to combat the challenge of terrorism, extremism and radicalism.
In their comprehensive talks, Modi and Atambayev also decided to strengthen ties in areas of defence, security, mining, IT, agriculture and energy.