SAMARKAND, January 13, 2019 - The first meeting of foreign ministers of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of India, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan was held in Samarkand within the India-Central Asia Dialogue with the participation of Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Beibut Atamkulov stressed the significance of this meeting in bringing Central Asia and India closer together, as well as giving impetus to the growth of the economies of the Central Asian countries. It was emphasized that there is a need to implement joint projects with India in the field of medicine, pharmaceuticals, new technologies and finance using the opportunities created by the International Technopark of IT startups “Astana Hub" and the Astana International Financial Centre.
In order to enhance the transit and transport potential of the region, it was suggested to create a consortium with all Central Asian countries to connect the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran and Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail routes with the port of Chabahar to transport cargo along the Central Asia-India route.
Matters of economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation were also discussed, as well as facilitating stabilization and economic development of Afghanistan. In particular, issues of enhancing mutual trade, expanding direct contacts between business associations, developing transit and transport and communication capacity of Central Asian countries, promoting joint initiatives to create international and regional transport corridors, attracting Indian investments, innovations and technologies to Central Asian economies, including in industry, energy, information technology, pharmaceuticals and agriculture, were touched upon.
Following the meeting, the Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of the Dialogue countries was adopted. The parties noted the dynamic and fruitful development of friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Central Asia, as well as reaffirmed the desire for regional cooperation, mutual support and joint settlement of topical issues to ensure security, stability and sustainable development in the region.
The proposal to hold the first ministerial meeting in the framework of the India-Central Asia Dialogue was preceded by a series of meetings at the expert level, held since 2012. The initiative to hold such meetings was proposed by the Indian Council of World Affairs together with the Ministry of External Affairs of India.