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India-Central Asia Summit later this month; Uranium, security, terrorism will be the focus

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 19-01-2022 Anish Mondal
India is also in constant engagement with some of the armies for peacekeeping operations under the UN flag. (File image) © Provided by The Financial Express India is also in constant engagement with some of the armies for peacekeeping operations under the UN flag. (File image)

For the first time ever, on January 27, India is going to host the leaders of five Central Asian countries in a virtual format. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be interacting with the Presidents of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

According to the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, “This is first of its kind engagement between India and Central Asian leaders. And, Central Asian countries are part of India’s extended neighbourhood.”

As has been reported earlier, Prime Minister Modi has visited all the Central Asian countries in 2015. And there have been several rounds of engagements and exchanges at high-levels both at bilateral as well as at multilateral forums.

The importance of the first summit with leaders of Central Asia

The region is very important for India at various levels: security, education, cyber security, and connectivity, space cooperation, tourism, hydrocarbon and other areas too.

This summit, according to MEA, is symbolic of the importance attached by the leaders on both sides. The focus is on making this a comprehensive and enduring partnership between India and Central Asia.

Focus of the summit

At the first ever India-Central Asia summit, the focus is expected to be on taking forward the relations to the next level. The leaders will exchange views on the regional security situation, especially Afghanistan under Taliban 2.0; national and international issues of mutual interests and concern.

Why is the Region important?

From a security point of view, Uzbekistan, which is considered to be one of the main players in the region, is militarily very strong. The country’s leader has been working with India towards a stable Afghanistan.

Countries like Kyrgyzstan, have sought closer cooperation with India to fight against terrorism, cross border threat and is also keen on working together to fight terrorism.

India is also in constant engagement with some of the armies for peacekeeping operations under the UN flag.

For India, countries like Uzbekistan are very important as it is also one of the main suppliers of Uranium for the country’s nuclear reactors.

The India-Central Asia Dialogue at Foreign Ministers

Last December the third edition took place in New Delhi. This meeting provided the much needed impetus to the relations between the two sides.

Also, last November, the Secretaries of National Security Councils of Central Asian countries participated in the Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan. At the meeting which took place in New Delhi, the focus was on a common regional approach on Afghanistan.

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