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Source: Government of India

Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. Mukhtar Tleuberdi,
Foreign Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr. Sirodjiddin Muhriddin,
Deputy Chairman of Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Mr. Rashid Meredov,
Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Abdulaziz Kamilov,
First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Mr. Nuran Niyazaliev,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 2nd meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue. Although we had planned to host this meeting in New Delhi in a physical format in April this year, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and its continuing impact has unfortunately not made it happen till now. I do hope that our next meeting will be held in person.

India and Central Asia share ancient historical and cultural linkages. We consider Central Asia as India’s ‘extended neighbourhood’. We share a common geography which facilitated continuous exchange of people, ideas and goods in both directions and left indelible imprints on our customs, traditions and languages.

A new chapter in our relationship began nearly 30 years ago after the emergence of independent Central Asian countries. India was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the Central Asian countries. Our relationship has grown since from strength to strength.

As developing countries, we share common perspectives on opportunities and challenges for the development of our countries and the prosperity of our people. We also share commonality of views on various regional and international issues. We face common challenges of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and such other issues. All these commonalities make us a natural partner in our developmental journey.

I once again thank you for joining in this important meeting today and look forward to our discussions on further strengthening India- Central Asia cooperation. We would also be joined in the second session by Afghanistan, our close friend and neighbor, in the capacity of a ‘Special Invitee’.

New Delhi
October 28, 2020

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