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Central Asian Leaders Won’t Make It To New Delhi For R-Day, Modi To Host Virtual Summit Instead

India wants Summit to reflect growing engagement with its ‘Extended Neighbourhood’

Photo Credit : Government of India

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File Photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Foreign Ministers of the Central Asian Republics at New Delhi in December 2021

The Presidents of the five Central Asian Republics will not be able to make it to New Delhi as chief guests for the Republic Day Parade as had been planned.  

Instead, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the first India-Central Asia Summit virtually on January 27. The Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will participate in the virtual Summit, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on January 19.  

This is a gesture by both India and the leadership of the Central Asian Republics to convey their interest in engaging one another, particularly over the “evolving regional security situation”. India considers Central Asia as its “extended neighbourhood”, and shares concerns and anxieties over the uncertainties created by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. 

“This will be the first engagement of its kind between India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders,” the MEA stated. “The Summit is symbolic of the importance attached by the Leaders of India and the Central Asian countries to a comprehensive and enduring India-Central Asia partnership,” it elaborated.  

“The first India-Central Asia Summit is a reflection of India’s growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India’s "Extended Neighbourhood”. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid a historic visit to all Central Asian countries in 2015. Subsequently, there have been exchanges at high-levels at bilateral and multilateral forums,” the statement elaborated.  

“During the first India-Central Asia Summit, the Leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights. They are also expected to exchange views on regional and international issues of interest, especially the evolving regional security situation,” the MEA stated.  
 
The MEA statement provided context and background to the importance New Delhi attaches to its outreach to Central Asia. “The inception of the India-Central Asia Dialogue at Foreign Ministers’ level, the 3rd meeting of which was held in New Delhi from December 18-20, 2021, has provided an impetus to India-Central Asia relations.  

“The participation of the Secretaries of National Security Councils of Central Asian countries in the Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan held in New Delhi on 10 November 2021 outlined a common regional approach on Afghanistan,” it was stated.