As he hosted the first India-Central Asia Summit in a virtual format, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday (January 27) that Central Asia is central to India’s vision of an integrated and stable extended neighborhood.

Today’s summit has three goals. First, to emphasise that mutual cooperation between India and Central Asia is necessary for regional security and prosperity. I want to make it clear that Central Asia is central to India’s vision of an integrated and stable neighbourhood. The second goal of today’s meeting is to give an effective structure to our cooperation, which will pave the way for the establishment of a platform for regular interaction among all stake-holders. The third goal is to prepare an ambitious roadmap for our cooperation, which will enable us to adopt an integrated approach for regional connectivity and cooperation,” PM Modi said at the summit.

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In his initial remarks at the summit, Modi said, “We all are concerned about the Afghan situation and this makes cooperation between India and Central Asia all the more important for regional stability and security.”

The virtual summit saw the participation of five presidents Kazakhstan’s Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Uzbekistan’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan’s Gubanguly Berdimuhamedow and Sadyr Japarov of Kyrgyz Republic. The Prime Minister called for defining a tious vision for cooperation between India and Central Asia in the coming years. Mutual cooperation between India and Central Asia is essential for regional security and prosperity, Modi said.

This is the first engagement of its kind between lent or India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders. The first India-Central Asia Summit, the MEA had said, is a reflection of the country’s growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India’s “extended an ambi- neighbourhood”. Modi had paid a visit to all Central Asian countries in 2015. Subsequently, there have been changes at high levels at bilateral and multilateral forums.

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