Continuing with increasing engagements with Central Asia, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend the first-ever India-Central Asia Dialogue to be held in Samarkhand, Uzbekistan, on January 12-13, it was announced on Wednesday.
While the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan will participate in the Dialogue as a special invitee for a session dedicated to connectivity issues in the region, the Foreign Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and the First Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan will represent their respective countries.
"Bound together through shared history and cultural linkages, India and the Central Asian states look forward to the Dialogue as an important initiative to enhance their cooperation in wide-ranging spheres including exploring ways to substantially enhance India's economic involvement in business and development sector of Central Asia," the statement said.
"With the participation of Afghanistan, the participants of the Dialogue will also deliberate on developing viable connectivity options between India and Afghanistan and Central Asia to further facilitate trade and economic activity in the region."
According to the Ministry statement, the India-Central Asia Dialogue, with the participation of Afghanistan, is expected to strengthen India's engagement, including political, economic, development partnership and cultural, with all the Central Asian countries and take it to a new level.
India is part of the 7,200-km International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a multimodal network of ship, rail and road routes for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
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