India-Central Asia NSA Meet: Afghanistan, counter terror and connectivity to be the key focus

India-Central Asia NSA Meet: In today’s meeting, India will be represented by NSA Ajit Doval, along with four of the five central Asian countries at NSA level or Secretary of security council. 

India-Central Asia NSA Meet: Afghanistan, counter terror and connectivity to be the key focus File photo

New Delhi: Afghanistan, counter-terror, and connectivity will be the key focus at the first ever India- Central Asia National Security Advisors (NSAs) meet that will take place on Tuesday (December 6) in Delhi. The meeting is one of the key outcomes of the India-Central Asia virtual summit that took place in January and envisages meetings at foreign and defense ministers' levels as well. Central Asia consists of 5 countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan which with India sees part of its extended neighborhood and share a civilizational, cultural, and historic connection. Tuesday's meeting will see India being represented by NSA Ajit Doval and four of the five central Asian countries at the NSA level or Secretary of the security council.

Turkmenistan is being represented by its ambassador in Delhi. According to Indian govt sources, the situation in Afghanistan remains an area of "shared concerns" for the countries participating in the meet. 3 central Asian countries, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan share borders with Afghanistan and have seen spillover from the current situation in Afghanistan.

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Taliban took over the country in August of last year as the Afghan Republic collapsed and since then worries remain over the country becoming a safe haven for terror groups. Sources pointed out that, the "intensity of violence in Afghanistan has increased" and the "number of groups active, including Jaish, Lashkar continue to maintain a presence."
India has several times expressed its concerns publicly over terrorism emanating from Afghanistan but worries also remain over Pakistan's support to cross border terror. Asked if the central Asian country agrees with Pakistan's support of terrorism, sources explained that they are "aware of it" and "they know about the backward linkages" having interrogated and taken into custody a number of terrorists.
A joint statement will also be issued after the day-long meeting on Tuesday, which will press on "all countries to observe international commitments" on acting on "designated individuals by relevant UN organs." This will be seen as a message to Islamabad, which has been seen as having a lax approach over the implementation of UNSC sanctions on listed terrorists. 
On connectivity, the focus will be on the usage of the Chabahar port given no direct overland access is present between the 2 sides. The port has been used to send humanitarian support to Afghanistan and the aim is to integrate it with the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that connects Mumbai to Moscow. 
Given the historic connection, the Tajik delegation plans to visit the tomb of Mirza Bedil in Delhi while the Kyrgyz delegation has requested a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra. Mirza Bedil is considered as one of the greatest Indian poets, who has inspired many and continues to enjoy prominence in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Iran. His tomb has also been visited by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon in 2006. In 2015, PM Modi gifted a miniature painting of Bedil's tomb in Delhi to Tajik President.