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Samarkand hosts the First Ministerial Meeting

The first meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of “India – Central Asia” Dialogue with participation of Afghanistan took place in Samarkand on January 12-13, 2019.

The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov and the External Affairs Minister of the Republic of India Sushma Swaraj.

At the plenary session, heads of foreign affairs agencies of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Beibut Atamkulov, the Kyrgyz Republic – Chingiz Aidarbekov, the Republic of Tajikistan – Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Turkmenistan – Rashid Meredov discussed a wide range of issues aimed at expanding friendly and mutually beneficial relations between India and the Central Asian countries in two and multilateral formats.

Particular attention was paid to measures for promoting mutual trade, prospects for strengthening cooperation in attracting investments, innovations and technologies to the regional economies, developing transit and transport-communication potential of Central Asian countries, increasing tourist trips, as well as implementing specific joint projects in the spheres of science, medicine, education and sports.

In the speeches of the heads of delegations, main attention was paid to the implementation of joint youth projects, taking into account the resolution of the UN General Assembly “Education and Religious Tolerance”.

Delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani took part in the work of a plenary session of the Dialogue.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of “India – Central Asia” Dialogue welcomed the participation of a representative Afghan delegation at their first meeting and emphasized their commitment to promoting the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan through implementation of joint infrastructure, transit-transport, energy and other projects that contribute to the country’s integration into the system of regional and world economic relations.

The readiness to cooperate in preparation for the Eighth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VIII), scheduled for the second half of 2019 in Tashkent city, was confirmed.

The heads of delegations drew attention to significant potential for joint initiatives on intensifying direct contacts between the business communities of the Dialogue countries, in implementation of cultural events, educational and scientific-research projects with Afghanistan, expressed their intention to facilitate the participation of the Afghan side in international youth forums, festivals, competitions, scientific conferences, exhibitions and other joint events.

Following the founding Summit, the Joint Statement was adopted, which reported on the launch of “India – Central Asia” Dialogue at the level of ministers of foreign affairs.

In general, the results of the ministerial meeting testify to the common opinion and approaches for establishment and development of multifaceted, mutually beneficial and fruitful cooperation in the Dialogue format. An agreement was reached to continue holding the Dialogue at the level of ministers of foreign affairs on a regular basis.

Heads of foreign affairs agencies accepted the invitation of the Minister Sushma Swaraj to hold the next ministerial meeting in 2020 in India.

Participants of the meeting in their speeches noted the deep symbolism that the first meeting of the Dialogue took place in ancient Samarkand, which for centuries played an active role in broad political, economic, cultural and humanitarian interaction of Central Asia with the Indian subcontinent.

Following the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov and the External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj addressed the representatives of domestic and foreign mass media.

(Source: Web site of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)