Central Asia foreign ministers hold regional dialogue with participation of India

Central Asia foreign ministers hold regional dialogue with participation of India

The foreign ministers of Afghanistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will meet in the Uzbek capital of Samarkand

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Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

The foreign ministers of Afghanistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will meet in the Uzbek capital of Samarkand today for the Central Asia-India Dialogue.

The inclusion of India in the regional dialogue is part of a push to boost trade opportunities and build stronger transport links. The meeting is also expected to focus heavily on China’s presence in the region, a key part of its Belt and Road Initiative. India’s recent accession to the Beijing-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a trade and security focused organisation, is likely to be used by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to stress New Delhi’s commitment to being a regional power.

Both China and India are looking towards the region as a source of future resources and as a destination for their growing investment clout. The lack of direct logistics links between India and Central Asia has long been an obstacle to India’s ambitions in the region as it seeks to both compete and partner with China for influence in Central Asia.

Expect India to announce significant public and private investment commitments to building transit corridors in the region. However, New Delhi’s ambitions are still expected to lag behind Beijing’s financial muscle and more advanced investment.

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