Connectivity with Central Asia top priority for India: President Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind (File Photo/PIB)

Ashgabat (Turkmenistan): Connectivity with the Central Asian countries remains a key priority for India, said President Ram Nath Kovind on April 3, 2022 at the Institute of International Relations here.   

While addressing the young diplomats of Turkmenistan, the President said one of the focus areas of Indian foreign policy in the last few years has been the revitalization of India’s historical ties with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of our ‘extended neighbourhood’.

“As developing countries, India and Central Asian countries share common perspectives and similar approaches. We face common challenges such as terrorism, extremism, radicalization, drug trafficking etc. India has also strategic relations with most of the Central Asian countries.”

The President said that India is a member of both the International North-South Transport Corridor, and the Ashgabat Agreement.

“We have taken steps to operationalize the Chabahar port in Iran, which can provide a secure, viable and unhindered access to the sea for the Central Asian countries,” President Kovind said.

 He added that while expanding connectivity, it is important to ensure that connectivity initiatives are consultative, transparent and participatory, with respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.

India stands ready to cooperate, invest and build connectivity in the region, said President Kovind.

The President said that India’s foreign policy has been constantly evolving since its independence.

“India’s emergence as one of the major economies of the world and the relevance of India’s technological capabilities has shaped key global negotiations. India’s partnerships with countries of the Global South have grown substantially while its relations with major powers have deepened further,” President Kovind said.

The President termed ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy as one of the key pillars of India’s foreign policy in recent years.

“The focus of our Neighbourhood First policy is to enhance connectivity, augment trade and investment, and build a secure and stable neighbourhood. We stand for an open, balanced, rules-based and stable international trade regime in the Indo-Pacific.”

Speaking about ongoing conflict in Ukraine, President Kovind said that India’s position on this issue has been steadfast and consistent.

“We have emphasized that the current global order is anchored in international law, UN Charter, and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of states. We are deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation. We have called for immediate cessation of violence and hostilities and return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy. We have also provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.”

President Kovind also inaugurated an ‘India Corner’ at the Institute of International Relations on the occasion. (Press Release)

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