For the first time, India hosted a gathering of Central Asian top security officials to discuss the evolving security situation in Afghanistan and ways to deal with the threat of terrorism emanating from that country.
GS Paper 3: Internal Security
Analyze the complexities and intensity of terrorism, as well as its causes, connections, and obnoxious nexus. Also, suggest measures that should be taken to eliminate the threat of terrorism. (250 Words)
Central Asian Countries in Focus
- The Central Asia region (CA) includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
- The region stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to the western Chinese border in the east.
- It is bordered by Russia on the north and Iran, Afghanistan, and China on the south.
Central Asia’s Importance for India:
- Energy Security o Central Asia has vast hydrocarbon fields and Uranium reserves.
- With India expected to become increasingly reliant on imported energy, developing alternative energy sources has become a critical concern.
- Geostrategic Importance – Located in the heart of the Eurasian continent, Central Asia is one of the most convenient transit routes.
- Commercial Interest o In terms of resources, labour, and markets, India and Central Asia are economically complementary.
- Geopolitical Interest – o Today, Europe, the United States, China, and Iran are attempting to expand their influence in this region. All of this will almost certainly result in high-stakes power politics in Central Asia.
- Internal Security o India views this region as a source of religious extremism and is concerned about the rise of radical Islamist groups that could pose a terrorist threat.
- The proliferation of drug trafficking in Central Asia adds to these security concerns.
- The first meeting of National Security Advisers (NSAs) from India and Central Asia was recently held in New Delhi.
- This meeting was the result of the India-Central Asia virtual summit that took place in January of this year.
- PM Modi hosted leaders from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan at this meeting.
- Participating leaders agreed to hold regular security chiefs meetings to discuss India’s “extended neighbourhood.”
The main points
- The current state of affairs in Afghanistan was discussed.
- The participating leaders discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and its implications for regional security and stability.
- At the meeting’s conclusion, a joint communique reaffirmed strong support for a peaceful, stable, and secure Afghanistan, emphasised respect for its sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, and urged non-interference in its internal affairs.
- In terms of connectivity, India emphasised that the Central Asian countries remain a top priority for India in terms of investment and connectivity in the region.
- According to the joint communique, connectivity initiatives should be based on principles of transparency and respect for all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- Analysts interpret this statement as implicit support for New Delhi’s position on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- The joint communique emphasised the importance of Chabahar Port during Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis.
- It also highlighted the Port’s enormous potential for enhancing trade and connectivity, as well as the Central Asian countries’ logistics infrastructure in the delivery of humanitarian goods to the Afghan people by international organisations.
- Prior to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, New Delhi delivered 100,000 tonnes of wheat and medicines to Afghanistan via the sea route to Chabahar port’s Shahid Beheshti terminal, which India developed.
- However, in the last year, India has sent humanitarian aid to Afghanistan via the land route via Pakistan.
- The participants agreed with India’s proposal to include the Chabahar port in the International North-South Transport Corridor.
- The corridor connects Iran and Russia through Central Asia.
- Emphasis on the importance of collective and coordinated action o
- The conference also discussed the need for collective and coordinated action against: the misuse of new and emerging technologies, the trafficking of arms and drugs, the use of terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism, the misuse of cyberspace to spread disinformation, and the use of unmanned aerial systems.
The significance of this meeting is based on India’s emphasis on dialogue diplomacy.
- This was India’s first time hosting a gathering of top security officials from Central Asian countries.
- It coincided with the 30th anniversary of India’s diplomatic relations with Central Asian countries.
- In November 2021, India hosted a regional dialogue on the situation in Afghanistan, which was attended by the NSAs of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
- The NSAs will meet again in India next year under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
- This demonstrates India’s emphasis on dialogue diplomacy to promote regional peace and stability.