On January 27, 2022, the Prime Minister (PM) of India Narendra Modi hosted the 1st India-Central Asia Summit 2022 in a virtual format with the Presidents of 5 Central Asian Nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
- This summit, also the first engagement of its kind between both sides at the level of leaders, coincided with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them.
- It highlights India’s growing cooperation with Central Asian countries as a part of its ‘Extended Neighbourhood’.
It saw the participation of the Presidents of Central Asia Nations viz.
Kazakhstan – Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Uzbekistan – Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Tajikistan – Emomali Rahmon
Turkmenistan- Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
Kyrgyz Republic – Sadyr Japarov
3 Objectives of Summit:
i.To make it clear that cooperation between India and Central Asia is essential for regional security and prosperity.
ii.To give an effective structure to our cooperation
iii.To create an ambitious roadmap for our cooperation
Highlights of summit:
i.A comprehensive Joint Declaration was adopted by the leaders for an enduring and comprehensive India-Central Asia partnership.
ii.The leaders agreed to institutionalize the Summit mechanism by holding it every 2 years.
- They also agreed on regular meetings of Foreign Ministers, Trade Ministers, Culture Ministers and Secretaries of the Security Council to prepare the groundwork for the Summit meetings
- An India-Central Asia Secretariat in New Delhi will be set up to support the new mechanism.
iii.India will remain committed to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
iv.Discussions were held to overcome the lack of land connectivity between India and Central Asia’s land–locked countries.
- The Indian side called for an integrated approach for regional connectivity and cooperation for the next 30 years.
v.Emphasis were laid on increasing Indian trade with Central Asia from the current $2 billion.
vi.Proposals were laid for the cooperation in trade and connectivity, development cooperation, defence and security, cultural and people to people contacts.
- These included a Round-Table on Energy and Connectivity; use of Chabahar Port; showcasing of Buddhist exhibitions in Central Asian countries; 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.
vii.The leaders reiterated their support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan. They also agreed to set up Joint Working Groups (JWG) at senior official level on Afghanistan.
India-Central Asia Cooperation:
i.Kazakhstan is a vital partner for India’s energy security.
ii.The cooperation between Central and State Governments of India, with Uzbekistan is growing.
iii.India-Kyrgyzstan are partners in the field of education and high-altitude research.
iv.India-Tajikistan cooperate in the field of security.
v.Turkmenistan is an important part of Indian vision in the field of regional connectivity.
In 2015, the Indian PM visited Central Asian countries where there have been exchanges at high-levels at bilateral and multilateral forums.
- The inception of the India-Central Asia Dialogue at Foreign Ministers’ level, the 3rd meeting of which was held in New Delhi from 18-20 December 2021, has also provided an impetus to India-Central Asia relations.
Point to be noted:
On January 25, 2022, China also held a summit with the leaders of Central Asian countries where China’s President Xi Jinping had offered USD 500 million in assistance to the region, and pledged to increase trade to $70 billion by 2030 from about $40 billion in 2018.
Recent Related News:
i.On September 9, 2021, PM Narendra Modi chaired the 13th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit 2021 virtually on the theme ‘[email protected]: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’.
ii.In September 2021, PM Narendra Modi virtually addressed the plenary session of the 6th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) i.e. the 2021 edition of EEF, which was held in Vladivostok, Russia. The main theme for the EEF 2021 is: ‘Opportunities for the Far East in a World under Transformation’.
About Central Asia:
i.Kazakhstan is the largest country in Central Asia .
ii.Kazakhstan is also the main oil producer in the region which is followed by Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
iii.Largest Lake- Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan