Nation Current Affairs 20 Dec 2021 India, five Central ...

India, five Central Asian countries pitch for Afghanistan relief

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SRIDHAR KUMARASWAMI
Published Dec 20, 2021, 7:12 am IST
Updated Dec 20, 2021, 7:12 am IST
In a joint statement issued after the dialogue, India and the 5 nations decided to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan
 External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with Central Asian counterparts during the third India-Central Asia Dialogue of Foreign Ministers, in New Delhi. (PTI)
  External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with Central Asian counterparts during the third India-Central Asia Dialogue of Foreign Ministers, in New Delhi. (PTI)

New Delhi: Condemning terrorism including cross-border terror and its sponsors along with radicalism at the third India-Central Asia Dialogue on Sunday in New Delhi, the foreign ministers of India and the five Central Asian countries -- Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan -- demanded that Afghan territory should not be used for terror acts while also pushing for establishment of a “truly representative and inclusive government there”.

Turkmenistan’s foreign minister Rashid Meredov said the dialogue was also in preparation for the Central Asia-India Summit that will be held in January, which gives a strong indication that the five Central Asian heads of state/government could indeed be the chief guests at India’s Republic Day parade on January 26.

 

In a joint statement issued after the dialogue, India and the five nations decided to continue to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and called for preserving the rights of women, children and other national ethnic groups in the strife-torn nation. The strong reference to cross-border terrorism and radicalism is seen as a veiled indication towards Pakistan, without naming it.

As external affairs minister S. Jaishankar told his five counterparts about a “readiness” to take India-Central Asia ties to the next level that “must focus around 4 Cs: Commerce, Capacity Enhancement, Connectivity and Contacts”, all six foreign ministers also agreed that “connectivity initiatives should be based on the principles of transparency, broad participation, local priorities, financial sustainability and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries”. This is also seen as yet another veiled barb at the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), without naming it. It may be recalled India had refused to join the BRI because of ts flagship project China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

 

Emphasising the important of India-Central Asia connectivity projects such as the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) as well as Ashgabat Agreement on International Transport and Transit Corridor, all six ministers also agreed on the importance of the Iranian port of Chabahar for India-Central Asia connectivity (through the sea-land route via Iran). Uzbek foreign minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, Turkmenistan FM Rashid Meredov, Kazakh FM Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Tajik FM Sirojiddin Muhriddin and Kyrgyz FM Russian Kazakbaev took  part in the dialogue.

 

In his opening remarks, Mr Jaishankar said: “We are very pleased at the state of our bilateral relations. But we know that the potential is very much more. Each one of us today faces the test of rebuilding our economy… But together we can do this better and India, I assure you, will be your steadfast partner. We already have a good history of cooperation. But my message to you today is a readiness to take it to the next level. Our ties must now focus around 4 Cs: Commerce, Capacity enhancement, Connectivity and Contacts.”

On Afghanistan, he added: “We all also share deep-rooted historical and civilisational ties with Afghanistan. Our concerns and objectives in that country are similar: a truly inclusive and representative government, the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, ensuring unhindered humanitarian assistance and preserving the rights of women, children and the minorities. We must find ways of helping the people of Afghanistan.”

 

In a joint statement, India and the five Central Asian countries said: “The ministers condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterated that providing safe haven, using terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism, terror financing, arms and drugs trafficking, dissemination of a radical ideology and abuse of cyber space to spread disinformation and incite violence, goes against the basic principles of humanity and international relations. They stressed that perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice in accordance with principle of ‘extradite or prosecute’. ... They called on the international community to strengthen UN-led global counter-terrorism cooperation and fully implement the relevant UNSC resolutions, Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and FATF standards.”

 

On Afghanistan, the statement added: “The sides discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the region. The ministers reiterated strong support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan while emphasising the respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs. They also discussed the current humanitarian situation and decided to continue to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. The ministers reaffirmed the importance of UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021) which unequivocally demands that Afghan territory not be used for sheltering, training, planning or financing terrorist acts and called for concerted action against all terrorist groups. The ministers also agreed to continue close consultations on the situation in Afghanistan.”

 

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Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi




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