Central Asia and India Agree to Boost Cooperation

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Mukhtar Tileuberdi addressed the second session of Central Asia – India Dialogue Oct. 28 that gathered foreign ministers of India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s press service reported. Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar also took part in the meeting.

During the online video conference. Photo credit: Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s press service

The first ministerial meeting was held in Samarkand in January 2019. The second ministerial meeting was initially supposed to take place in New Delhi, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown restrictions, the meeting was held online. 

The participants explored the ways to expand long term multifaceted cooperation between India and the region and to deepen bilateral ties to strengthen security and ensure sustainable growth in Central Asia. 

“India and Central Asia share ancient historical and cultural linkages. We consider Central Asia as India’s ‘extended neighbourhood’. We share a common geography which facilitated the continuous exchange of people, ideas and goods in both directions and left indelible imprints on our customs, traditions and languages,” said Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who was cited by the Indian ministry’s press service. 

He said that the countries have common challenges and interests to work together on. 

“We face common challenges in the areas of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and other such issues. All these commonalities make us natural partners in our developmental journeys,” he added.

The meeting also discussed cooperation in trade and the economy, implementation of projects in transport connectivity and assistance in stabilizing the sanitary and epidemiological situation in the countryside. The meeting also noted the urgent need for settlement of the Afghan conflict through an Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled peace process. 

The ministers expressed their readiness to consolidate their countries’ efforts on strategically important areas of multilateral cooperation and to expand economic and regional cooperation. 

They noted the importance of stepping up a multifaceted cooperation  in line with “a tradition of centuries of friendship, mutual respect and serving the common interest which is an important factor in the social and economic progress, peace, stability and security in the region.”

During the meeting, India also announced it would provide a $1 billion line of credit to the Central Asian countries. 

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