Terrorism erodes all avenues of development a country can have, and no business development, no investment can take place in a country affected by terrorism, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, while addressing the first session of the India-Central Asia Dialogue here on Sunday.
"Our region is facing serious challenges posed by terrorism. India, Central Asia, and Afghanistan are societies which are tolerant and plural. The ideology of hate which the terrorists would like to spread has no place in our societies," she said.
"We also need to ask that who these terrorists are, who funds them, how they find sustenance, who protects and sponsors them. To promote business development in our region, it will also be necessary to fight this scourge of terrorism together," added Swaraj.
Union Minister Swaraj is on a two-day visit to Uzbekistan for discussing measures with her counterpart for stepping up bilateral cooperation in a number of areas including trade, economy, defence and IT.
The External Affairs Minister also stated that India would be happy to conduct special training courses for Central Asian countries in fields like the prevention of smuggling of narcotic substances, WTO, remote sensing, high-level IT courses, filmmaking, oil, and gas sector and policy planning and public administration.
"We are also willing to depute two English-teachers each to the Central Asian countries. I would like to announce an extensive, two-week training course for eight diplomats from each of the five Central Asian countries at the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi. This programme will be in addition to the regular Professional Courses for Foreign Diplomats run by the Foreign Service Institute which your diplomats have been attending on a regular basis," she said.
The Union Minister also said that there is a dire need for both India and Uzbekistan to harness the potential of the youth which is tremendously talented but requires adequate nurturing, support and training.
"We believe that a conducive environment must be created to encourage our youth to find gainful employment and excel in arts, literature, science, sports and other fields. While doing so, we may also instill among them awareness and pride of our shared history," she said.
"I would like to announce that the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will organise an international conference in India on cultural links between India and Central Asia. I am also happy to announce that the annual International Dance Festival organized by ICCR would focus on Central Asian Countries this year," she said.
"ICCR will also offer five additional slots, one each for the five Central Asian countries, for the scholarship to study India's classical dances and music in India."
Union Minister Swaraj, while talking about business to business partnerships, said: "The Government of India has been encouraging its public sector enterprises and private sector to participate in developing economic opportunities in Central Asia."
"Development partnership has emerged as an important component of India's engagement with other countries. We are happy to look at ways of extending this partnership to Central Asia as well, where we can bring our countries closer by taking up concrete projects, inter alia, under our Lines of Credit and Buyers' Credit, and by sharing our expertise," she added.
"In this connection, India proposes the setting up of the 'India-Central Asia Development Group' at G2G level to take forward this development partnership between India and Central Asian countries. This Group may be tasked to come up with concrete proposals," she added.
Union Minister Swaraj further said: "India is the fastest growing large economy of the world with a market of 1.3 billion people. It is recognised as a global leader in areas such as information technology, pharmaceuticals, medical services, movie production, science and technology, space sector and in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy."
"There is, therefore, considerable complementarity between India and Central Asia. More efficient connectivity will lead to the full realisation of the growth potential of the region. We are geographically close and, in terms of air connectivity, only about three hours away. The time has come to develop more efficient transit routes, as well as to, better utilise existing opportunities and find innovative solutions," concluded Swaraj.
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