India's National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval on Tuesday said that connectivity and countering terror financing in cooperation with Central Asian countries remains India's key priority. The statement came at the first India-Central Asia meeting of the National Security Advisers in New Delhi. Doval added that "peaceful, secure and prosperous Central Asia" remains in Central Asia's common interest.
The joint statement of the meet asserted that no terrorist organisation "including those designated by UNSC resolution 1267 should be provided sanctuaries or allowed to use the territory of Afghanistan", meaning that Pakistan-based terrorist groups should not be provided with operational grounds in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
This is the first time India is hosting a conclave of top security officials from Central Asian countries including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan focusing on the evolving security situation in Afghanistan and ways to deal with the threat of terrorism.
This first India-Central Asia NSA meet coincides with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Central Asian countries.
Doval, in a message directed at Pakistan, appealed to all UN members to fulfill obligations enshrined in relevant counter-terror conventions.
In a message to China, Doval said that connectivity projects in the region must be "consultative, transparent and participatory with respect to sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the countries.
Doval also referred to the first India-Central Asia virtual summit in January that was hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“At the January meeting of our leaders agreed to convene regular meetings of secretaries of security councils to discuss security-related developments in the region. This forms the basis of the meeting,” he said.
Boosting connectivity including the developments related to Chabahar port in Iran, a part of 7200-km long International North-South Transport Corridor spanning Central Asia all the way to Russia, was part of the discussions at the meet.
The NSA-level conclave comes 10 months after the first India-Central Asia virtual summit, and deliberated on ways to boost India’s connectivity with the Central Asian region among other issues.