It is a ministerial-level discussion between India and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The discussion will centre on a variety of topics, including strategies to increase connection and stabilise war-torn Afghanistan. The Prime Minister of India recently convened the first India-Central Asia Summit in virtual form.
Details of the Summit
- The Leaders deliberated on far-reaching suggestions to expand collaboration in commerce and connectivity, development cooperation, defence and security, and, in particular, cultural and people-to-people interactions. These were :
- Energy and Connectivity Roundtable conference
- Exercises on counter-terrorism cooperation.
- Joint Working Groups at the highest levels of government on Afghanistan and the usage of the Chabahar Port.
- Annual visit of a 100-member Central Asian youth delegation to India, as well as specific courses for Central Asian diplomats.
- The leaders reaffirmed their strong support for a peaceful, safe, and stable Afghanistan with a government that is truly representative and inclusive.
- Exhibitions of Buddhist art in Central Asian nations, as well as the creation of an India-Central Asia lexicon of common terminology.
Importance of the summit for India
- Trade: India has traditionally had great diplomatic connections with the five Central Asian governments, and Indian Prime Ministers have visited them, notably Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. Despite this, India’s trade with them was just USD 1.4 billion in 2019. In order to connect with the area, India joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in 2017. However, the SCO is only a sluice gate to moderate Russia’s and China’s subconscious competition in order to prevent either nation from dominating the area. Russia frequently uses the SCO to manage India-China relations.
- Security: The meeting is a significant step forward in India’s diplomacy. Because the area is a vital lynchpin in India’s security strategy, the summit will have a cascading effect on India’s diversified approach to the region.
- Geopolitical Dynamics: The summit exemplifies the emphasis that the leaders of India and Central Asia place on a comprehensive and long-term India-Central Asia alliance.It is taking place at a critical moment at which tensions between the West and Russia, as well as between the United States (US) and China, are growing. India has also had geopolitical losses, including border conflicts with China and the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. It comes after President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India, which may have given India the opportunity to press Russia to gently balance China in Eurasia and to control the threat from Afghanistan. The recent instability in Kazakhstan also demonstrated that “new actors” are striving for power in the area, while their motivations remain unknown.
India’s relationship with Central Asian countries
- Turkmenistan: It is a key element of India’s regional connectivity strategy, as seen by its involvement in the Ashgabat Agreement. A crucial component of the 2018 Ashgabat Agreement is regional connectivity in Central Asia.
- Tajikistan: Both nations have a long history of security cooperation.
- Kazakhstan: has emerged as a critical partner for India’s energy security.
- Uzbekistan: State governments in India are also prominent participants in the country’s expanding relations with Uzbekistan.
- When others engage with the region from their own perspectives —- China from an economic (Belt and Road Initiative), Russia from a strategic (Collective Security Treaty Organization), Turkey from an ethnic (Turkic Council), and the Islamic world from a religious (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) —- it would be appropriate for India to provide a cultural and historical perspective to the region through an annual summit-level meeting.
- With the exception of Russia, Central Asia has no particular orientation toward any country. While their geopolitical ideas are sometimes ambiguous, they are cautious of China. They do, however, have substantial economic relations with China, whereas India has little or no economic dependent on them.
- The region’s hostile attitude against Pakistan is fading, perhaps as a result of the population’s growing Islamization or maybe as a result of Russia’s altered stance toward Pakistan.
- India must first revise its big-picture perception of the area. Central Asia is unquestionably a zone of Indian civilisational impact. The Ferghana Valley served as India’s Great Silk Road crossing point. Buddhism expanded throughout Asia from here. The Valley continues to link India to three countries: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
- The popular conception of “Hindustan” in the people’s minds, as well as their historic affection for Bollywood, might be key elements in enhancing the connection. However, India’s soft power is dwindling as a result of generational transition. This must be stopped. Aside from trade, only a value-driven cultural strategy can replace the existing ill-defined aims of re-establishing India-Central Asia ties.
How to structure
- Give an intro about India- Central Asia relations
- Explain about the summit- its objectives
- Mention the significance and the need
- Suggest way forward