Swaraj to visit Uzbekistan for 1st India-Central Asia Dialogue


NEW DELHI, Jan 10: External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj will pay a two-day visit to Uzbekistan from Saturday for the first India-Central Asia Dialogue during which key regional issues including enhancing connectivity with Afghanistan will be discussed, the Ministry of External Affairs said Thursday.
Swaraj will be in Samarkand for the First India-Central Asia Dialogue which she will co-chair with Uzbekistan's Foreign Minister AbdulazizKamilov.
The Foreign Minister of Afghanistan will participate in the Dialogue as a special invitee for the session dedicated to connectivity issues in the region, the MEA said.
Foreign ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and the First Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan will also participate in the dialogue.
Bound together by shared history and cultural linkages, India and the Central Asian states look forward to the Dialogue as an important initiative to enhance their cooperation in wide-ranging spheres including exploring ways to substantially enhance India's economic involvement in business and development sector of Central Asia, the MEA said.
With the participation of Afghanistan, the participants of the Dialogue will also deliberate on developing viable connectivity options between India and Afghanistan and Central Asia to further facilitate trade and economic activity in the region, it said. Following Prime Minister NarendraModi's landmark visit to all the five Central Asian countries in 2015 and the external affairs minister's tour last August, the India-Central Asia Dialogue, with the participation of Afghanistan, is expected to strengthen India's engagement with all the countries of the region and take it to a new level.

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