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Press Statement by EAM after First India-Central Asia Dialogue

January 13, 2019

Excellency, Abdulaziz Khafizovich Kamilov,
Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan,
Host & Co- Chair of the India – Central Asia Dialogue.
Excellencies and colleagues from Central Asia and Afghanistan.
Friends from media.

It gives me immense pleasure to be present in Samarkand at the historic First India-Central Asia Dialogue, with the participation of Afghanistan.

I am grateful to the Government of Uzbekistan for hosting this Dialogue and to my colleagues, Foreign Ministers from Central Asia and Afghanistan for participating in this Dialogue. Today is the starting point for a new era in relations between India and Central Asia.

Our Dialogue has reaffirmed the centuries old ties between the peoples of India, Central Asia and Afghanistan. We are comfortable with each other and are natural partners.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook a landmark visit to all the five Central Asia countries in 2015, the first by an Indian leader, which emphasised what Central Asia means to India.

This visit achieved important results bilaterally with each one of the five Central Asian countries but also set us thinking what we can do more together to substantially enhance economic engagement and development partnership between India and Central Asia.

We now want to build a modern and comprehensive partnership on these strong foundations.

We had an opportunity to review the overall gamut of India's relations with the Central Asian region and had extensive discussions on ways to intensify our engagement.

Development partnership has emerged as an important component of India’s engagement with other countries. Today, I offered to extend this partnership to Central Asia as well, where we can bring our countries closer by taking up concrete projects, inter alia, under our Lines of Credit and Buyers’ Credit, and by sharing our expertise.

In this connection, India proposes the setting up of the "India-Central Asia Development Group” to take forward this development partnership between India and Central Asian countries. All our countries will be represented in this G2G group. This Group will be requested to come up with concrete proposals. Friends,

As you are aware, the joint efforts of India, Iran and Afghanistan have led to the development of the Chabahar Port in Iran as a viable route to connect to Afghanistan and potentially to Central Asia.

In this context, we will be happy to see participation from Central Asian countries at the forthcoming Chabahar Day International Conference in Chabahar on 26 February, 2019. India has also put forward several proposals towards enhancing our cultural cooperation and training programmes for capacity building for candidates from Central Asia.

We welcome the participation of Afghanistan in the first meeting of the "India – Central Asia Dialogue”.

India, through this Dialogue, reiterates its support and commitment to peace, security and stability of Afghanistan; to promote inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan – controlled peace and reconciliation process and to assist in economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Friends,

I specifically pointed out that no business development, no investment can take place in a country suffering from terrorism. To promote business development in our region, we agreed to fight the scourge of terrorism together.

India will be pleased to host the next India-Central Asia Dialogue with the participation of Afghanistan at the Foreign Ministers' level in India in 2020.

I would like to express my deep gratitude to my esteemed colleague, the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan and the Government of Uzbekistan for the generous hospitality extended to us and excellent arrangements made for this meeting in Samarkand.

Thank you.

Uzbekistan
January 13, 2019

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