India, Central Asia to form working group on Afghanistan

    CountriesAfghanistanIndia, Central Asia to form working group on Afghanistan
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    India, Central Asia to form working group on Afghanistan

    The first India-Central Asia Summit coincided with the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Central Asian countries.

    A virtual summit organised by India hosting Central Asian leaders discussed the evolving situation in Afghanistan with the Central Asian leaders. The leaders reiterated their strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan with a truly representative and inclusive government. Prime Minister 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. During the Summit, Prime Minister Modi and the Central Asian Leaders discussed the next steps in taking India-Central Asia relations to new heights. They decided to hold such a summit every two years and also agreed on regular meetings between ministers of the two countries.

    Besides India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the summit was also attended by Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadyr Japarov.

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    India sees this summit as a reflection of India’s growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India’s “Extended Neighborhood.” The participating countries have decided to establish a joint working group on Afghanistan, an official statement released on Thursday said.

    Delhi Declaration

    A Delhi Declaration issued soon after the virtual summit said spoke of a broad “regional consensus” on the issues related to Afghanistan. The declaration alluded to the need for the formation of a truly representative and inclusive government, combating terrorism and drug trafficking, the central role of the UN, providing immediate humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan and preserving the rights of women, children and other national ethnic groups and minorities.

    The leaders also discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the security and stability of the region. They reiterated their strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan while also referring to the current humanitarian situation and decided to continue to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

    The leaders discussed far-reaching proposals to further cooperation in areas of trade and connectivity, development cooperation, defence and security and, in particular, on cultural and people to people contacts. These included a round-table on energy and connectivity; joint working groups at senior official level on Afghanistan and use of the Chabahar Port. There was also agreement on India showcasing Buddhist exhibitions in Central Asian countries and commissioning of an India-Central Asia dictionary of common words, joint counter-terrorism exercises, visit of 100-member youth delegation annually from Central Asian countries to India and special courses for Central Asian diplomats.

    The leaders decided to hold such a summit every two years. An “India – Central Asia Centre” will be established in New Delhi to act as the secretariat for future India-Central Asia summits.

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