Round Table Discussion on ‘India-Central Asia Relations’
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Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) organised a Round Table Discussion (RTD) on ‘India-Central Asia Relations’ on 23 January, 2020. Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director VIF, delivered the opening remarks followed by a key note address by Amb. Pankaj Saran, Deputy National Security Advisor, Govt. of India. Mr. Manish Prabhat, Joint Secretary (Eurasia Division, Ministry of External Affairs) also delivered his remarks on India-Central Asia relations. Ambassadors of five Central Asian Republics along with Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran made presentations in the RTD. A brief Presentation was made by Amb. DP Srivastava, Distinguished Fellow, VIF on India’s connectivity initiatives with regard to Central Asian region. Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Russian Federation also took part in the discussions.

The RTD was an attempt to have a fruitful discussion about the current status of India-Central Asia relations and to generate ideas for raising the profile of their bilateral relations. The presentations were followed by detailed discussions on the theme of the RTD.

India-Central Asia relations gained momentum in the recent past with the PM Modi’s visit to the five Central Asian Republics in 2015 and the First ever India-Central Asia Dialogue at the Foreign Ministers level held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan in January 2019. Former External Affairs Ministers of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj described India-Central Asia as natural partners. She underscored the need to build a modern and comprehensive partnership between the two regions. In the Samarkand Dialogue, a number of initiatives to enhance G2G cooperation were taken along with announcement of setting up an ‘India-Central Asia Developmental Group’. This group is requested to come up with concrete proposals. New Delhi will host the Second India-Central Dialogue this year.

The RTD noted that India-Central Asia relations have experienced a gradual growth irrespective of absence of direct access. Increasing cooperation between India and Central Asia will promote security, stability, economic growth and development of these countries along with providing energy security and a constructive regional role for India. High level exchanges between the two regions will lead to the enhanced cooperation. However, there is an urgent need for India to leverage its economic and technical capacities with Central Asian countries. It will not only give strategic value to India’s Central Asia policy but will also augment goodwill between the two regions.

Event Date 
January 23, 2020

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