New Delhi: India announced loans worth $1 billion for development projects in the Central Asian countries in the connectivity, health, agriculture, energy, education and IT sectors. A virtual meeting between the Indian and Central Asian Foreign Ministers was held on Wednesday. During the meeting, India decided to provide this loan assistance, for the social and economic development in the Central Asian countries. At this time, the Central Asian countries denounced terrorism and assured not to allow anyone to use their land for any terrorist activities against any country.
Another virtual meeting was held between India and the Central Asian countries, led by Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar. Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kirgiz Republic attended the meeting. Whereas, the Afghan Foreign Minister was a special invitee. Presence of Afghanistan was the highlight of the meeting.
At the beginning of the meeting, these countries thanked India for the medical assistance given by India, to these Central Asian countries, during the Coronavirus crisis. Discussions to increase the trade and economic cooperation between India and the Central Asian countries, were also held during the meeting. In February, Central Asia Business Council was inaugurated in New Delhi. Under this council, the Indian Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI) and the organisations from the Central Asian countries will jointly work towards increasing the trade, business and investments. The focus will be on small and medium industries.
The countries concurred that a logistics network and an international Transport corridor should be built between India and the Central Asian countries. The Foreign Ministers from the Central Asian countries applauded the Indian initiative to develop the Chabahar port in Iran. The Foreign Ministers of these countries underlined the importance of Chabahar port saying that this port helped in building a trade and transport network between the Central and South Asian countries.
At the same time, India and the Central Asian countries expressed an opinion that there is a need to take action against the safe havens of terrorists, their networks and the funding provided to them. Also, by saying that they will not allow that use of their lands against any other countries, India and the Central Asian countries issued a stern warning to Pakistan without naming it.
Everyone welcomed the presence of Afghanistan in the meeting between India and the Central Asian countries. Afghanistan was given the message that India and the Central Asian countries will always assist Afghanistan in the process of peace and development in the country. Afghanistan will become a participant in all the future meetings between India and the Central Asian countries.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Piyush Goyal inaugurated the 1st Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Start-up Forum. Commerce Ministers of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kirgiz Republic, Russia and Pakistan attended the virtual meeting held for this purpose. Goyal said on this occasion that the SCO member countries need to unite, to provide an impetus to the trade and investment and in effect accelerate the economies, against the background of the Coronavirus pandemic.