Connectivity with Central Asia a major priority for India: President Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday said connectivity with Central Asian countries is a key priority for India, which is a member of both the International North-South Transport Corridor and the Ashgabat Agreement.

Addressing young diplomats from Turkmenistan at the Institute of International Relations in Ashgabat, he said: “We have taken steps to commission the Chabahar port in Iran which can provide a safe, viable and unhindered access to the sea for Central Asian countries .

“While expanding connectivity, it is important to ensure that connectivity initiatives are consultative, transparent and participatory with respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. India stands ready to cooperate, invest and build connectivity in the region.”

Kovind stressed that India’s foreign policy has been continuously evolving since independence.

“India’s rise as one of the world’s leading economies and the relevance of India’s technological capabilities have shaped major global negotiations. India’s partnership with the countries of the Global South has grown significantly while its ties with the major powers have deepened.”

He stressed that one of the key pillars of India’s foreign policy in recent years has been the ‘neighbourhood first’ policy.

“While ‘Indo-Pacific’ is a recent addition to the geopolitical terminology, India’s association with the Indo-Pacific is several centuries old. The region’s dynamism and vitality make it a global economic hub. We are Indo-Pacific. We are in favor of an open, balanced, rules-based and stable international trading system in the Pacific.”

According to the President, one of the focus areas of Indian foreign policy over the years has been the revitalization of its historic ties with Central Asian countries, which are part of our “extended neighbourhood”.

“As developing countries, India and Central Asian countries share similar perspectives and similar perspectives. We face common challenges like terrorism, extremism, extremism, drug trafficking etc. India also has strategic ties with most of the Central Asian countries.

On the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the President said that India’s stand on the issue has been firm and consistent.

“We emphasize that the current global order is anchored in international law, the United Nations Charter and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states. We are deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation. We have called for an immediate end to violence and hostilities. And to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy. We have also provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.”

On how the United Nations remains the most universal and representative international organization, he said: “At the core of India’s call for multilateralism is the reform of the UN Security Council, which reflects contemporary realities. In this context India values ​​Turkmenistan’s support for our permanent membership in a reformed and expanded UN Security Council.

Kovind said that Turkmenistan is marching ahead in the ‘era of the people with Arkadag’, with India ready to partner with it to realize the collective dreams of the people as a long-standing friend. He expressed hope that his visit to Turkmenistan would provide a new impetus to further boost the partnership between the two countries.

He also inaugurated an ‘India Corner’ at the Institute of International Relations on the occasion. The ‘India Corner’ is envisaged to generate interest in India among the students of the Institute in organizing India related activities.

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