India Seeks Cooperation With Central Asia to Help Afghanistan
(Bloomberg) -- India seeks to work with Central Asian nations to help provide aid to Afghanistan and ensure a more representative government is in place there, India Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Sunday.
“Our concerns and objectives in that country are similar,” Jaishankar told his counterparts from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan at the India-Central Asia Dialog in New Delhi. “We must find ways of helping the people of Afghanistan.”
The Indian minister listed the needs for an inclusive government in Afghanistan, fighting terrorism and drug trafficking, providing unhindered humanitarian assistance and preserving the rights of women, children and minorities as priorities for the Asian neighbors. New Delhi has so far held only one formal meeting with the Taliban group since its takeover of Afghanistan earlier this year.
The Indian government is concerned about how Taliban rule could impact security in the region, especially in India’s restive northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi, which invested $3 billion in Afghanistan, has been expanding its ties with energy-rich Central Asian nations. New Delhi has also backed regional infrastructure projects including the North-South corridor that includes highways and railways connecting Chabahar port in Iran with Russia to reduce the time of shipments between Europe and central Asian markets.
National security advisers of all the five Central Asian countries along with Iran and Russia last month attended regional talks on Afghanistan hosted by India. Of the central Asian nations, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan share borders with Afghanistan.
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