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PM Modi to host first India-Central Asia meet virtually on Thursday

India reaches out to Central Asian Republics (Photo: IANS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the first-ever meeting of the India-Central Asia Summit in a virtual format on Thursday.

The virtual event will see the participation of Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This will be the first engagement of its kind between India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

"The first India-Central Asia Summit is a reflection of India's growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India's "Extended Neighbourhood," the MEA said in an earlier statement.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a historic visit to all Central Asian countries in 2015. Subsequently, there have been high-levels exchanges at bilateral and multilateral forums," it added.

The inception of the India-Central Asia Dialogue at the Foreign Ministers' level, the 3rd meeting of which was held in New Delhi from December 18-20, 2021, has 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, 2021, 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," MEA said.

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.