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Foreign Ministers of Central Asia land in Delhi to prepare for the big Republic Day visit

Tajikistan Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin arrives in New Delhi to attend the 3rd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue (Images courtesy: MEA)

The Foreign Ministers of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan arrived in New Delhi today to prepare for the big visit of regional leaders as chief guests to view the famous January 26 Republic Day parade.   

While Ruslan Kazakbaev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, arrived on Friday morning, Tajikistan Foreign Affairs Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin landed in the capital later in the day.

Apart from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, ministers from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, along with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, will be holding discussions during the third India-Central Asia dialogue that will be held on Sunday.

The last edition of the dialogue was also organised by India in October 2020 in a virtual format.

Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev in Delhi on Friday

"There has been an active engagement between India and the five Central Asian countries over the last few years. India considers Central Asia as part of its 'extended neighbourhood'. EAM visited Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan this year and met with Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan in October 2021," stated the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

During the meeting, India is also expected to formally invite leaders of five countries from Central Asia as chief guests for next month's Republic Day celebrations.

The move will further tighten India's bond with the landlocked regions of Eurasia, especially after the ongoing turbulence in Afghanistan.

The invitation is also part of India's effort not only to work on the commercial and political tracks but to knit the broken cultural bonds between the two regions.

India believes that holding of annual meetings of the India-Central Asia Dialogue is symbolic of the interest on the part of all member countries for greater engagement between them in a spirit of friendship, trust and mutual understanding.

According to the MEA, the ministers are expected to discuss further strengthening of relations between India and Central Asian countries with particular focus on trade, connectivity and development cooperation. They will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The Foreign Ministers are also expected to pay a joint courtesy call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Jaishankar and Muhriddin will be meeting on Saturday to discuss various bilateral, regional and international issues. The Indian External Affairs Minister had visited Tajikistan on three occasions this year for a bilateral visit and participation in the 'Heart of Asia' conference in March, the SCO Foreign Ministers' meeting in June and the SCO Council of Heads of State Summit in September.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval visited Tajikistan in June for the SCO meetings. From the Tajik side, the Secretary of the Security Council visited India in February and again in November for the Regional Security Dialogue.

"The visit of the Foreign Minister of Tajikistan will sustain the momentum of high level exchanges and further strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries," said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

Also Read: Five Central Asian heads could walk together with PM Modi on Rajpath this Republic Day