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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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India-Central Asia NSAs Meet For A “Stable And Secure” Afghanistan

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India and the Central Asian countries came together in support of Afghanistan. The National Security Advisers (NSAs) of these countries on Tuesday unanimously pitched strong support for a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan, highlighting respect for its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and urging non-interference in its internal affairs.

This was the first time that a meeting of NSAs/secretaries of security councils of India-Central Asia took place and was hosted by Indian NSA Ajit Doval. The focus of the meeting was on developing a common framework to tackle the challenges of terrorism in the region, including Afghanistan, and ways to enhance overall security cooperation in line with a decision taken at the first India-Central Asia summit in January.

The conclave was attended by the NSAs of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan while Turkmenistan’s ambassador to India was its representative in the conclave.

The NSAs agreed that the expansion of terrorist propaganda, recruitment and fundraising efforts have serious security implications for the region and, therefore, a collective and coordinated response is essential. The misuse of new and emerging technologies, arms and drugs trafficking, using terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism, abuse of cyberspace to spread disinformation and unmanned aerial systems present new challenges in counterterrorism efforts and call for collective action.

They also highlighted the crucial role Chabahar Port played during the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, as well as its enormous potential to improve trade and connectivity. They also talked about the role played by the Central Asian countries’ logistics infrastructure in the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people by international organizations.

India’s proposal to include the Chabahar port within the framework of INSTC was backed by all the NSAs.

In order to transport freight between India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe, there is a 7,200 km long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road routes called the International North-South Transport Corridor. The route largely entails transporting cargo via sea, train, and road from India, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia.

The NSAs released a joint statement that read, “Noted the current deteriorating humanitarian situation and the need to jointly act to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan…Condemned in the strongest terms all forms and manifestations of terrorism and underscored the need to work collectively to fight this menace. Agreed that the expansion of terrorist propaganda, recruitment and fundraising efforts have serious security implications for the region and, therefore, a collective and coordinated response is essential.”

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