Now the first virtual summit with leaders of Central Asia later this month
Interestingly, to celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations, the leaders of five Central Asian countries will meet virtually for a summit level meeting. The meeting being hosted by New Delhi is expected to take place on January 26, 2022. The focus of the virtual summit will be on 4 Cs: Connectivity, Capacity Enhancement, Commerce and Contacts in the ties.
The summit level meeting comes at a time when India has increased its engagement with the region and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited all the countries in the region in 2015.
After the fall of Afghanistan to Taliban on August 15, 2021, India had reached out to the countries in the region while repatriating the Indians as well as those who wanted to leave Afghanistan.
New Delhi has had several meetings with the leaders of the countries in the region including the recent meeting of foreign ministers of the five Central Asian Countries.
In December 2021, the foreign ministers had come to New Delhi for the third India-Central Asia Dialogue. The ongoing situation in Afghanistan, drug trafficking, terrorism, cyber security, connectivity and many other issues were on the table for discussions. India’s external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar, had bilateral meetings with each of the foreign ministers from the region.
The same ministers ended up giving a miss to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers meeting in Pakistan. It was seen as a big snub to Islamabad after the foreign ministers of these Central Asian countries chose to ignore the meeting.
India had announced USD one billion as Line of Credit for these countries to be used in projects related to IT, energy, healthcare, agriculture, connectivity, infrastructure as well as education.
Also, Chabahar Port in Iran has been pitched for better connectivity with the region as well as helping in trade. As has been reported, external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar had visited Tajikistan as well as Uzbekistan in 2021.