January 28, 2022
NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed concern over the developments in Afghanistan and called for mutual cooperation between India and Central Asia countries for regional security and stability.
“Central Asia is central to India’s vision of an integrated and stable extended neighbourhood,” he said, chairing the first India-Central Asia Summit attended by the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The presidents of the five Central Asian countries were scheduled to participate in India’s Republic Day parade as chief guests but their visits had to be postponed in view of the Covid crisis. The summit is symbolic of the importance attached by the leaders of India and the Central Asian countries to a comprehensive and enduring India-Central Asia partnership.
Emphasising that mutual cooperation between India and Central Asia was essential to regional security and prosperity, Modi said this cooperation must be given an effective structure. “This will establish a framework of regular interactions at different levels and among various stakeholders,” he added.
The PM also called for creating an ambitious roadmap for India-Central Asia cooperation. “Through this, we will be able to adopt an integrated approach for regional connectivity and cooperation in the next 30 years,” he said.
Noting that diplomatic relations between India and Central Asia countries have completed 30 fruitful years, he said the cooperation between the two sides has achieved many successes over the past three decades. “And now, at this crucial juncture, let us define an ambitious vision for the years to come as well. Such a vision, which can fulfill the aspirations of our people, especially the younger generation, in the changing world,” he added.
The PM pointed out that India has close relations with all the Central Asian countries at the bilateral level. In this connection, he noted that Kazakhstan has become an important partner for India’s energy security. He also expressed his condolences over the recent loss of life and property in violence in Kazakhstan.
He said the state governments in India were also active partners in New Delhi’s growing cooperation with Uzbekistan. India has an active partnership with Kyrgyzstan in the field of education and high altitude research. Thousands of Indian students were studying there.
India, Modi said, has a long-standing cooperation in the field of security with Tajikistan and it was being continuously strengthened. Turkmenistan also was an important part of Indian vision in the field of regional connectivity, he added.