Central Asia Current Affairs

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India and Kyrgyzstan sign 6 agreements in various fields

India and Kyrgyzstan have signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)/ Agreements including in the fields of tourism, agriculture and food industry etc.

These agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev in New Delhi. Besides, both leaders also issued joint statement. 

Signed Agreements are

  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism
  • MoU in the field of cooperation in youth exchange.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Youth development
  • MoU on exchange of information on training programmes of diplomats.
  • Agreement on cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Food Industry.
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Broadcasting and exchange of audiovisual programmes.

Besides, both countries initiated talks to conclude a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in order to augment investments flowing between the two countries as it will protect the interest of investors.

India considers Kyrgyzstan as a valuable partner in common pursuit of making Central Asia a region of sustainable peace, stability and prosperity.

Highlights of Joint statement issued

Both countries have agreed on the need to coordinate and work closely in addressing and overcoming these challenges for the common benefit.  They also reviewed cooperative engagement in the field of defence and sought to expand joint military exercises including the ‘Khanjar’ series of military exercises which has become an annual event. They also decided to build on the development cooperation including in capacity building and training. On economic ties both sides agreed to encourage engagement in healthcare, tourism, IT, agriculture, mining and energy.

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India, Kazakhstan Joint Exercise PRABAL DOSTYK-16 begins

India, Kazakhstan joint bilateral military exercise PRABAL DOSTYK-16 began in Karaganda region of Kazakhstan.

The fourteen day (till 17 September 2016) will be a significant step towards fostering military as well as diplomatic ties between both countries. ‘Prabal Dostyk’ means ‘Robust Friendship’

Key Facts

  • In this edition of exercise, Indian Army is being represented by a platoon strength and the Kazakhstan Army is represented by platoon from Special Operating Force’s Unit.
  • The primary aim of exercise will be to enhance interoperability while undertaking Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Operations in rural & semi-urban environment under the umbrella of United Nations.
  • The exercise will be conducted in two stages. The first stage will be to familiarize with each other’s tactics, drills, weapons & equipment.
  • Whereas in the second stage, troops of both the armies will graduate to jointly execute a helicopter borne operation in a simulated environment.
  • Combat battle drills and physical fitness will also be the focal point of the bilateral military exercise.

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INSTC, India’s strategic gateway to Central Asia and Eurasia

The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is considered as gateway for India to expand trade and investment links with Central Asia and Eurasia.

Its importance was highlighted in India’s Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-20.

However, recently it gained importance in light of the evolving geopolitical developments of India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to 5 Central Asian Countries viz Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

  • It is a multi-modal trade transport network that includes strategic rail, road, and water transport connecting India with Central Asian and Eurasia Countries.
  • Route: It will connect Mumbai (India) via Chabahar and Bandar Abbas ports of Iran with Baku (Azerbaijan) to Moscow (Russia) and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe via the Caspian Sea.
  • Economic Integration: It will help in facilitating India’s economic integration with Eurasian economies and other countries in surrounding regions.
  • If India partners with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), it will further boost and expand its economic, trade and investment opportunities in more countries in this region.
  • Shorter transport route: It will be a shorter route to transport goods to Eurasian and Central Asian regions compared to present route via Suez Canal and western European countries. Thus, reduce the cost of transporting goods from India to Eurasia.
  • Natural resources access: It will help India to tap the abundant natural resources potential of Central Asian countries for its energy security. These countries are having rich deposits of petroleum, natural gas and uranium along with deposits of fertilizer inputs such as potash.
  • Exports: Many sectors in this region are becoming increasingly service-oriented which can benefit India to export expertise in information technology and IT-enabled services.

Implications

For India, the INSTC will be strategically important trade corridor of tremendous promise that could help to develop its economic and strategic importance in Eurasia and Central Asia. It could also give India economic and strategic relevance to tackle regional ambitions of China through its One Belt, One Road Initiative.

Map Source: CIA

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