The First Ministerial meeting of “India - Central Asia-Afghanistan” Dialogue took place on 13 January 2019 in Samarkand, Republic of Uzbekistan. The Foreign Ministers of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan attended the meeting.
The Parties noted ancient civilisational, cultural, trade, people to people links between India and Central Asia and expressed commitment to dynamic and fruitful friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and the Central Asian countries at bilateral and multilateral formats.
The Parties reaffirmed the willingness for cooperation, mutual support, joint solution on relevant issues in order to ensure security, stability and sustainable development. In this context, the participants of the meeting welcomed the successful holding of the First Working (Consultative) Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia, held on March 15, 2018 in Astana.
All Parties condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and agreed to cooperate in countering terrorism which posed a threat to the people and economies of the world.
The Ministers emphasized the importance of developing and implementing projects, that provide a concerted solution to the problems and issues of economic growth of the countries of Central Asia based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and respect for their interests.
The Parties expressed their intention to strengthen cooperation in order to create real opportunities for expanding economic cooperation, ensuring favorable conditions for mutual free trade.
Heads of Foreign Ministries discussed promising opportunities and areas of cooperation in promoting mutual trade, attracting investments, innovations and technologies in key spheres of industry, energy, information technologies, pharmaceuticals and agriculture, education and training.
The Parties confirmed their readiness to promote the development of direct contacts between the business community and business organizations, entering new formats of cooperation between companies and enterprises. They noted the need to promote cooperation at the level of small and medium-sized businesses, start-ups, venture business.
The Ministers stressed the importance of holding industry-specific business forums and other mutual business events on a regular basis.
The Heads of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs noted the importance of concerted efforts to improve the investment climate and the market attractiveness of the region’s economy, business opportunities of the Central Asian countries on the world stage. The Ministers paid special attention to the need to expand and establish direct mutually beneficial economic and cultural ties between the regions and cities of India and the countries of Central Asia and expressed their intention to contribute to this direction.
Ministers noted interest in further deepening cooperation in development of transit and transport-communication potential of the countries of Central Asia, improving the transport and logistics system of the region, promoting joint initiatives to create regional and international transport corridors. In particular, the participants welcomed the accession of India into the Ashgabat agreement on creating an International transport and transit corridor.
Ministers stressed the commitment of the countries of Central Asia and India to create favorable conditions for increasing mutual tourism flows, the development of tourism infrastructure. The Parties noted the importance of creating regional tourist routes and combined tours in the countries of Central Asia.
The Parties paid particular attention to the implementation of joint youth projects in the field of culture, science and education, sports, including in framework of the implementation of the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/73/128 «Education and religious tolerance».
Ministers expressed interest in deepening bilateral and multilateral cooperation in cultural, scientific, educational, medical and information spheres by implementing joint projects, as well as enhancing cultural and humanitarian exchanges in the framework of people-to-people diplomacy, developing interaction of expert-analytical and public circles, Mass Media. The Parties gave priority to interaction in the preservation and study of joint cultural heritage and historical monuments.
The Ministers welcomed the participation of Afghanistan in the first meeting of the «India- Central Asia-Afghanistan Dialogue” as an important land link in the regional cooperation, transit of goods and energy and expressed support and commitment of Central Asian countries and India to peace, security and stability of Afghanistan; to promote inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan owned peace process and reconciliation; and to assist in economic reconstruction of Afghanistan through the implementation of joint infrastructure, transit and transport, energy projects including regional cooperation and investment projects.
The Heads of Foreign Ministries noted the importance of sustainable economic growth in Afghanistan by attracting Afghan women to participate in the public life of the country and welcomed the successful holding of forums and conferences on this issue in the countries of Central Asia.
The Ministers noted the outcomes of the Seventh Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII), held in Ashgabat in November 2017, and confirmed their willingness to cooperate in preparation for the Eighth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VIII) in Tashkent in the second half of 2019.
The Parties agreed to continue holding the “India – Central Asia-Afghanistan” Dialogue with participation of Afghanistan at the level of Foreign Ministers on a regular basis and agreed to meet in this format in New Delhi in 2020.