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Connectivity with Central Asian countries remains India's 'key priority': NSA Ajit Doval at first India-Central Asia meet

"We meet at a time of great churn and international relations, and uncertainty about the future," NSA Ajit Doval said at the first India-Central Asia meeting of the National Security Advisers/Secretaries of Security Councils.

Connectivity with Central Asian countries remains India's 'key priority': NSA Ajit Doval at first India-Central Asia meet

New Delhi: National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval on Tuesday (December 5, 2022) said that the connectivity with Central Asian countries remains India's "key priority". Speaking at the conclave of top security officials of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Delhi, Doval said that "peaceful, secure and prosperous" Central Asia is in our common interest.

"We meet at a time of great churn and international relations, and uncertainty about the future. A peaceful, secure and prosperous Central Asia is in our common interest," he said at the first India-Central Asia meeting of the National Security Advisers/Secretaries of Security Councils.

He also spoke on the security situation in Afghanistan and said that it is an important issue concerning us all. 

"India's concerns and objectives with regard to immediate priorities and the way forward are similar to those of many of us around the table," Doval said. 

A number of Central Asian countries share land borders with Afghanistan and there have been concerns by them ever since the Taliban seized power in Kabul in August 2021.

In an apparent message to Pakistan, Doval said that "we should honour all UN members to fulfill obligations enshrined in relevant counter-terror conventions and refrain from providing support to entities involved in terror attacks."

Watch Ajit Doval's full address at the first India-Central Asia Meeting of the National Security Advisers/Secretaries of Security Councils

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is also likely to hold separate bilateral meetings with his visiting counterparts on the sidelines of the meet.

In November last year, India hosted a regional dialogue on the situation in Afghanistan that was attended by NSAs of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

But it is the first time that India is hosting the top security officials of the central Asian countries.

The meeting, notably, coincides with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and the Central Asian countries.

Earlier in January this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also hosted the first India-Central Asia Summit in a virtual format which was attended by the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

During the summit, Modi and the Central Asian leaders discussed the next steps in taking India-Central Asia relations to new heights.

In a historic decision, the leaders agreed to institutionalise the summit mechanism by deciding to hold it every two years. They also agreed on regular meetings of Foreign Ministers, Trade Ministers, Culture Ministers and Secretaries of the Security Council to prepare the groundwork for the summit meetings.
 

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