Afghanistan, Global Development & Terrorism: Highlights From 1st India-Central Asia Summit

PM Narendra Modi on Thursday held the first India-Central Asia Summit which was attended by Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The summit was an extension of the 3rd meeting of the India-Central Dialogue, which was held in New Delhi back in December. The virtual summit coincided with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Central Asia countries.

Here are the key highlights from the first India-Central Asia Summit:

Joint working group on Afghanistan

On Thursday, India and Central Asian nations decided to establish a joint working group on Afghanistan at the senior officials’ level. They discussed the evolving situation in the war-torn country. The presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan “reiterated their strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan with a truly representative and inclusive government.” Further, PM Modi “conveyed India’s continued commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people”.

“A comprehensive Joint Declaration was adopted by the leaders that enumerates their common vision for an enduring and comprehensive India-Central Asia partnership,” MEA added.

India-Central Asia Summit to be held in every two years

During the meeting, the leaders decided to hold an India-Central Asia Summit every two years, with the next meeting to be held in 2024. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement, apart from the India-Central Asia Dialogue mechanism at the Foreign Ministers level, the leaders agreed that the Ministers of Trade and Culture would meet at regular intervals to take forward cooperation in various areas. The leaders also agreed to continue regular meetings of Secretaries of the Security Council in a bid to discuss security developments in the region.

Leaders agree to boost counter-terrorism mechanism

The leaders from Central Asia and India also agreed to boost the existing counter-terrorism mechanism. They expressed satisfaction over the regular bilateral military counter-terrorism exercises taking place in India and agreed to consider organising joint counter-terrorism exercises between India and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan. In the summit, the leaders even highlighted the importance of regular dialogue between the Security Councils of their respective nations to tackle the common challenges such as terrorism, extremism and radicalisation in the region.

India suggests a roadmap for next 30 years

During the Summit, PM Modi suggested preparing a roadmap for the next 30 years, focusing on connectivity and cooperation in an integrated manner. The leaders emphasised that connectivity projects could be a force multiplier for trade and economic cooperation and contacts between countries and people. They stressed making concerted efforts to boost trade and investment in sectors such as medicine, healthcare, education, information technology, business process outsourcing, infrastructure, agriculture and agri-processing, energy, space industry, textiles, leather and footwear industry, gems and jewellery.

Agree to utilise Chabahar Port and Turkmenbashi Port

The leaders welcomed the proposals of India to establish a joint working group on Chabahar Port in a bid to address issues of free movements of goods and services between India and Central Asia countries. Apart from supporting India’s proposal to use Chabahar Port to facilitate trade, the participating leaders also noted Turkmenistan’s proposal to include the Turkmenbashi Port within the framework of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

‘Human centric’ global development

India and Central Asian countries emphasised that the post-pandemic world requires diversified global supply chains that are based on trust, resilience and reliability. In this context, PM Modi outlined his principle of ‘Support of All, Development for All, Trust of All, Efforts of All’ for regional development, peace and prosperity. The leaders supported a more collaborative and inclusive global progress and development. The leaders further agreed that global development should be human-centric in a bid to ensure that no one is left behind.

According to the Delhi Declaration, the leaders “agreed that global development should be human-centric to ensure that no one is left behind. In this context, they supported a more collaborative and inclusive global progress and development.”

PM Modi’s three objectives of India-Central Asia summit

PM Modi said that the summit has three key objectives. The first one is to make it clear that mutual cooperation between India and Central Asia is necessary for regional security and prosperity. The second is to give an effective structure to our cooperation, which will pave the way for the establishment of a platform for regular interaction among all stakeholders. He said that the third objective of the summit is to prepare an ambitious roadmap for our cooperation, which will enable them to adopt an integrated approach for regional connectivity and cooperation.

He said, “Central Asia is central to India’s vision of an integrated and stable extended neighbourhood.”

Dictionary of common words used in India and Central Asian nations

During the summit, New Delhi offered to commission a dictionary of common words used in India and Central Asian nations as well as showcasing of a Buddhist exhibition in the five countries.

(Image: MEA/Twitter)

Desk Team