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India and Central Asian countries say connectivity initiatives should be based on respect for sovereignty of all countries

Underscoring the continued development of mutual connectivity to enhance trade and commerce, India and Central Asian countries agreed on Thursday that connectivity initiatives should be based on the principles of transparency and respect for sovereignty and of the territorial integrity of all countries.

At the first India-Central Asia Summit, leaders of participating countries welcomed India’s proposal to establish a joint Chabahar Port Task Force to address issues of free movement of goods and services between India. India and Central Asian countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted the virtual summit attended by President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev .

The virtual summit coincided with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Central Asian countries.

The Delhi declaration adopted at the summit states that India and the Central Asian member countries of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), as well as the Ashgabat Agreement on the International Transport and Transit Corridor , called on other Central Asian countries to consider joining these connectivity initiatives.

“The parties agreed that connectivity initiatives should be based on the principles of transparency, broad participation, local priorities, financial viability and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries,” the statement said. declaration.

The Indian side welcomed the interest of Central Asian countries in using the services of Shahid Beheshti Terminal at Chabahar Port to facilitate their trade with India and other external markets.

Parties supported India’s proposal to include Chabahar Port and noted Turkmenistan’s proposal to include Turkmenbashi Port as part of the INSTC (International North-South Transport Corridor).

The Delhi Declaration indicates that the leaders agreed to continue their commitment to further develop the transit and transport potential of their countries, improve the region’s logistics network and promote joint initiatives to create regional and international transport corridors.

They also noted the need for continued large-scale and long-term economic cooperation between Central Asian countries and India to strengthen and expand interconnectivity. In this context, the President of Turkmenistan underlined the importance of the TAPI gas pipeline project.

The leaders noted that the current level of trade and investment between India and Central Asian countries is far from realizing its true potential and stressed the importance of making concerted efforts to boost trade and investment. in various sectors such as medicine, health, pharmaceuticals, education and information. Technology.

They welcomed the development of direct contacts between the States of India and the regions of the countries of Central Asia, in particular through the establishment of partnership agreements between them.

The leaders instructed their respective ministers to prepare a roadmap to enhance mutual trade volume and industrial cooperation between India and Central Asian countries.

The leaders encouraged the India-Central Asia Business Council (ICABC) to accelerate its efforts to promote trade ties, facilitate better understanding of trade regulations and encourage mutual investment.

They took note of the proposal to establish an India-Central Asia investment club under the aegis of ICABC to promote investment opportunities in each other’s countries.

The leaders noted that the further development of mutual connectivity is essential for improving trade and commerce between India and Central Asian countries in the context of their landlocked nature and lack of land connectivity with the ‘India.

They stressed that connectivity projects deserve priority attention and could be a force multiplier for trade and economic cooperation and contacts between countries and peoples.

Iran and India signed an agreement in 2018 to develop Chabahar port in southeastern Iran. The port is located in the Gulf of Oman and provides an alternative route for trade between India and Afghanistan.

Chabahar Port is a key connectivity project to enhance trade relations between India, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. (ANI)

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