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PM to hold virtual Summit with 5 Central Asian Presidents as omicron cases rise

Sandeep Dikshit

New Delhi, January 19

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the first meeting of the India-Central Asia Summit, with the participation of the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, in a virtual format on January 27.

This will be the first engagement of its kind between India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders, said an MEA news release.

The five Central Asian Presidents were to attend the Republic Day celebrations as chief guests but rising omicron cases led to them opting for a virtual summit with Modi.

The summit is a “reflection of India’s growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India’s extended neighbourhood”, it added.

Modi had visited all Central Asian countries in 2015. Subsequently, there have been exchanges at high levels at bilateral and multilateral fora.

The inception of the India-Central Asia Dialogue at Foreign Ministers’ level, the third meeting of which was held in New Delhi from December 18 to 21 last year, provided an impetus to India-Central Asia relations. The participation of the Secretaries of National Security Councils of Central Asian countries in the Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan held in New Delhi on November 10 last year had outlined a common regional approach on Afghanistan.

During the first India-Central Asia Summit, the leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights. They are also expected to exchange views on regional and international issues of interest, especially the evolving regional security situation.

“The summit is symbolic of the importance attached by the leaders of India and the Central Asian countries to a comprehensive and enduring India-Central Asia partnership, said the MEA statement.

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