In what appears to be India’s own subtle reply to China’s Belt and Road Initiative or BRI, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called for a three pronged approach aimed at adopting ‘an integrated approach for regional connectivity and cooperation’ and among the Central Asian countries for the next 30 years.
Prime Minister’s remarks came at the first India-Central Asia Summit held virtually at the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Dignitaries from Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan took part in the summit. PM Modi said cooperation for regional security and stability had assumed further significance in the wake of developments in Afghanistan.
“We all have the same concerns and objectives for regional security. We are all concerned about the developments in Afghanistan. In this context also, our mutual cooperation has become even more important for regional security and stability,” the Prime Minister in his address said.
Elaborating on the three pronged integrated approach to regional connectivity and cooperation, Modi said,” Today’s summit has three main objectives. First, to make it clear that cooperation between India and Central Asia is essential for regional security and prosperity.”
“From Indian point of view, I would like to emphasise that Central Asia is central to India’s vision of an integrated and stable extended neighbourhood,” Prime Minister Modi said.
The Prime Minister further said, ” The second objective is to give an effective structure to our cooperation. This will establish a framework of regular interactions at different levels and among various stakeholders.”
“And, the third objective is to create an ambitious roadmap for our cooperation,” Modi said, adding,” Through this, we will be able to adopt an integrated approach for regional connectivity and cooperation for the next 30 years.”
Earlier, welcoming the top dignitaries at the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the diplomatic relations between India and Central Asia countries have completed 30 meaningful years.
“Our cooperation has achieved many successes over the past three decades. And now, at this crucial juncture, we must define an ambitious vision for the coming years as well. A vision that can fulfil the aspirations of our people, especially the younger generation, in the changing world,” the Prime Minister said.
“At the bilateral level,” PM Modi said, “India has close relations with all the Central Asian countries.”
Modi said Kazakhstan has become a vital partner for India’s energy security. I express my condolences for the recent loss of life and property in Kazakhstan.”Our state governments are also active partners in our growing cooperation with Uzbekistan. This includes my home state of Gujarat as well,” he said.
“We have an active partnership with Kyrgyzstan in the field of education and high-altitude research. Thousands of Indian students are studying there.
With Tajikistan, we have longstanding cooperation in the field of security. And we are continuously strengthening it,” Modi added.
“Turkmenistan is an important part of Indian vision in the field of regional connectivity, which is evident from our participation in the Ashgabat Agreement,” the Prime Minister said.