India hosted the first India -Central Asia Summit

India hosted the first India -Central Asia Summit

India hosted the first India -Central Asia Summit- Today Current Affairs

(GS Paper-II, Polity,Constitution,Governance,Social Justice and International Relations) 

Source: The Hindu

Why in news?

  • Recently the first India -Central Asia Summit was hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in virtual format.
  • The meeting was attended by the heads of the states of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan ,  Kazakhstan,  Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan.
  • The India- Central Asia Summit marked the 30th year of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Central Asian nations.

Important highlights of the Summit: The Hindu Analysis

  • Connectivity related concerns were raised by India with landlocked Central Asian countries.
  • Emphasis was laid on the cooperation in the areas related to development , trade and connectivity defense and security and people to people contact.
  • Some of the areas of cooperation include,
  • Putting up Buddhist exhibitions in different Central Asian countries.
  • Conducting joint Counter Terrorism exercise and holding Round table on energy and connectivity.
  • The India Central Asia Summit was institutionalized and it was decided to hold  summit every 2 years along with having regular meetings of several Ministries like foreign minister, Trade Minister, Cultural minister.
  • New Delhi would become the home to India- Central Asia  Secretariat.
  • All the participant Nations retaliated with their strong support for peaceful Afghanistan with an inclusive government.

India’s relation with : The Hindu Analysis

  • Tajikistan : India has long standing cooperation in the area of security with it.
  • Kazakhstan : Recently India expressed grief over the loss of life and property in Kazakhstan. From the viewpoint of India’s energy security Kazakhstan plays a very important role.
  • Uzbekistan : State governments in India are playing a very active role in strengthening Cooperative relation with Uzbekistan.
  • Turkmenistan : It plays a vital role in India’s vision of regional connectivity in Central Asia under Ashgabat agreement.

Relevance of Summit for India: The Hindu Analysis

  • Geo- strategic importance : Central Asian countries are not immediate neighbors of India but they hold relevance because of their strategic location. Central Asia acts as an access point between Europe and Asia which hold extensive potential for trade commerce and growth. Therefore the Summit holds the symbolic importance of India- Central Asia relationship.
  • Energy security : The demand for energy is growing and will continue to do so .In this context Turkmenistan’s  reserve, which rank fourth in the world can help India ensure its energy security.
  • Competitive pricing : Spreading the source of procurement India can benefit from the competitive pricing and could easily get its 15% of the projected energy demand fulfilled by the time 2020’s is completed.
  • Trade : The Summit provides an opportunity for India to expand its trade with Central Asia which stood at only USD 1.4 billion in 2019.

Way forward

  • Central Asia has been the area of India’s civilizational influence. Buddhism made inroads to Central Asia through the Fergana Valley which also acted as the crossing point of Silk Route.
  • In the current scenario where countries like China (Belt and Road Initiative) and Russia (Collective Security Treaty Organization) are  painting the region through its own perception,  it would be beneficial for India to give a cultural and historical perspective to the region.
  • China’s influence , although the Central Asian Nation shares a strong economic tie with China but they are very apprehensive of it. On the other hand, economic ties  with India are minimal. India shall work to strengthen its economic ties with these nations to counter the  growing Chinese influence in the region.
  • At the same time India shall also work  to arrest its fading soft power in these regions by formulating a value -driven cultural policy that can help rebuild India- Central Asia Bond.

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