New Delhi: Mutual cooperation between India and Central Asia is essential for regional security and prosperity, PM Modi said while hosting the first India-Central Asia Summit in a virtual format on Thursday.
The region is central to India’s vision of an integrated and stable extended neighbourhood, he said. The current situation in Afghanistan adds further importance to this cooperation, he added.
“We all are concerned about the Afghan situation and this makes cooperation between India and Central Asia all the more important for regional stability and security.”
The leaders have decided to establish a joint working group on Afghanistan at a senior officials’ level, the MEA later said.
PM Modi also called for defining an “ambitious vision” for cooperation between India and Central Asia in coming years, mentioning that will enable adopting an integrated approach for regional connectivity and cooperation.
India has decided to engage in joint counter-terrorism exercises with interested Central Asian countries, according to MEA secretary Reenat Sandhu.
Five Presidents from Central Asian countries- five presidents — Kazakhstan’s Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Uzbekistan’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan’s Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and Sadyr Japarov of Kyrgyz Republic- participated in the summit.
The summit was held a day after Republic Day which saw no foreign head of state or government as the chief guest. The leaders of the five central Asian countries were likely to be the chief guest but the countrý saw a rise in Covid-19 cases which led to a curtailed Republic Day celebrations.
The MEA had said, is a reflection of the country’s growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India’s “extended neighbourhood”.
Modi had paid a visit to all Central Asian countries in 2015. Subsequently, there have been exchanges at high levels at bilateral and multilateral forums.