India-Central Asia connectivity:

India-Central Asia connectivity:

News: External Affairs minister proposed a dialogue on air corridors with Central Asian countries to boost trade.

Facts:

  • Minister took part in the first India-Central Asia Dialogue in Uzbekistan.
  • To boost India- Central Asia trade, languishing below $2 billion for years lack of overland access to landlocked Central Asia for this, India stressed on exploring air corridors between India and Central Asian Republics.
  • India proposed to organize a ‘dialogue on air corridors’ with the participation of civil aviation authorities, air freight and aviation companies of India and Central Asia so that goods, including perishable items, can be transported efficiently and swiftly.
  • India already has opened air corridors for the transport of goods and perishables between India and several Afghan cities to circumvent Pakistan’s veto over India-Afghanistan trade passing overland through its territory.
  • India also called on the Central Asia Republics to participate in the Chabahar Port project, jointly undertaken by India and Iran to move Indian goods to landlocked Afghanistan and potentially to Central Asia.
  • India suggested development partnership between India and Central Asia by taking up concrete development projects using India’s Lines of Credit and Buyers’ Credit, and through shared expertise.

Importance of Central Asia for India:

  • Abundance of oil and natural reserves and vast mineral and natural resources.
  • Nation/state-building and modernization process within Central Asia provides vast opportunities for infrastructure building and economic cooperation between India and regional members.
  • Access to Central Asian markets and further with better accessibility to East European and Russian markets.
  • Convergence of interests between India and the Central Asian republics could be beneficial for:
  • Dealing with the multi-polar world dominated by few powerful states.
  • Tackling the menace of religious fundamentalism and trans-border terrorism.
Central Asia: Region includes five landlocked countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
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