Central Asia Current Affairs
India has joined Ashgabat Agreement which envisages facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf to significantly boost up trade and investment. It was informed by Turkmenistan, as depository state of the Agreement that all its four founding members have consented to accession of India.
Ashgabat Agreement aims at establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor between the Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It was signed in April 2011 and is named after capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat. It establishes international transport and transit corridor between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf countries. Pakistan is also its member since October 2016.
Significance of accession to Agreement
- It will enable India to utilise this existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction and ties with Central Asia and Eurasian region.
- It will synchronise India’s efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity.
- It will provide India an opportunity for reorientation of the freight traffic from the traditional sea route to land transcontinental routes.
India had deposited the Instrument of Accession with Turkmenistan in April 2016. Prior to it, the Union Cabinet had given its approval for India to accede to Ashgabat Agreement in March 2016.
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.