India and 5 Central Asian Nations to Form Afghan Group

The first-ever India-Central Asia Summit, hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in virtual format was attended by President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. This summit was organised as India is celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the 5 Central Asian countries this year.

At the meeting it has been decided that a joint working group particularly focussed on Afghanistan and the evolving situation will be established at the level of senior officials. All these nations also decided to adopt a “common approach” in dealing with the Taliban regime. The leaders reaffirmed the importance of UNSC Resolution 2593, adopted in 2021, which says that Afghan territory should not be used to shelter terrorists and calls for the formation of an inclusive government.

According to the joint statement — Delhi Declaration of the 1st India-Central Asia Summit,

“The Leaders discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the security and stability of the region. They reiterated strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan, while emphasising the respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs”. The joint statement also said that India and the Central Asian countries “noted that there is a broad ‘regional consensuses on the issues related to Afghanistan, which includes formation of a truly representative and inclusive government, combating terrorism and drug trafficking, 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.”

To highlight the common linguistic and spiritual linkages, both sides have agreed to commission a ‘Dictionary of Common words used in India and Central Asian countries and showcase Buddhist exhibitions in Central Asian countries. While, India declared that it will host a 100-member youth delegation from the Central Asian countries every year to promote greater understanding and organise Joint Counter-Terrorism Exercises.

The leaders finally decided that the summit will now be held every two years, India-Central Asia centre will be established that will act as a secretariat, and more ministerial engagement at foreign, trade and cultural ministers’ level will be promoted.

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