By Naveen KapoorNew Delhi [India], January 26 (ANI): India is set to deepen its ties with Central Asian countries at the first of its kind India-Central Asia summit hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday where the key focus other than security and the Afghanistan issue will be trade and connectivity, development partnership, culture and people to people contacts.
Head of states of Central Asian countries will join the summit virtually. India has very close bilateral ties with several countries of Central Asia. India-Kazakhstan trade is highest in the Central Asian region.
The highest trade in the Central Asian region is between India and Kazakhstan (USD 1.9 bn in 2020-21); majorly oil imports.
Kazakhstan is a strategic partner with 8,000 strong Indian communities including 5,000 medical students. Kazakh's first president Nazarbayev to India; PM visited Kazakhstan in 2015 and 2017Both countries also implemented unique experiment in UN peacekeeping. Kazakh troops are participating as part of the Indian battalion in UNIFIL. The 6th rotation currently going on and there is also regular joint military exercise KAZIND.
India also shares warm relations with the Kyrgyz Republic. There are six visits of Kyrgyz Presidents to India. PM Modi visited the Kyrgyz Republic in 2015 and 2019.
Former Kyrgyz President Jeenbekov attended PM Modi's swearing-in in May 2019.
There are 5 telemedicine centres established by India in the Kyrgyz Republic. Both countries also hold annual joint military exercises Khanjar.
Relations with Tajikistan are no different. There have been six visits by President Rahman to India. The PM visited in 2015. Both nations have strong cooperation in defence. There is also the India-Tajik Friendship Hospital.
India and Tajikistan share very similar positions on Afghanistan.
With strategic partner Uzbekistan, there is good cooperation between the country's Andijan region and Gujarat. Bilateral trade stands around USD 300 mln.
There is also India-Uzbek-Iran trilateral Working Group on Chabahar. Line of credit USD 1 billion was extended in 2018; 4 projects worth USD 450 mln were approved.
There are several projects under High Impact Community Development under implementation.
Indian universities like Sharda, Amity and Sambhroom are setting up campuses in Uzbekistan.
Setting up of medical units and centres like Medanta, USD 50 mln worth investment by Cadila in setting up a pharmaceutical plant are also being done.
Entrepreneurship Development Centre set up by India in 2019 shows the robust ties between the two countries.
A look at India's relationship with Turkmenistan shows 3 visits by Turkmen Presidents to India. The PM visited in 2015.
First Yoga and Traditional Medicine centre was established in Central Asia in Ashgabat in 2015. India established IT Centre in 2011 and an Industrial Training Centre in 2002. (ANI)