New Delhi, Jan 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the first India-Central Asia Summit in a virtual format on January 27 during which the leaders are expected to deliberate on steps to take forward relations to newer heights as well as the evolving regional security situation.
The virtual summit will be held with the participation of the five presidents - Kazakhstan's Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Uzbekistan's Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Emomali Rahmon, of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan's Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and Sadyr Japarov of Kyrgyz Republic.
This will be the first engagement of its kind between India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
The summit will be held a day after the Republic Day and sources said this year too like 2021, there will be no foreign head of state or government as the chief guest for the Republic Day event in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cases.
The first India-Central Asia Summit, the MEA said, is a reflection of India's growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India's "extended neighbourhood".
Modi paid a visit to all Central Asian countries in 2015. Subsequently, there have been exchanges at high-levels at bilateral and multilateral forums.
During this summit, the leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights, the MEA said.
They are also expected to exchange views on regional and international issues of interest, especially the evolving regional security situation.
The summit is symbolic of the importance attached by the leaders of India and the Central Asian countries to a comprehensive and enduring India-Central Asia partnership, the statement said.
The inception of the India-Central Asia Dialogue at Foreign Ministers' level, the third meeting of which was held in New Delhi from December 18-20, 2021, has provided an impetus to India-Central Asia relations, the MEA said.
The participation of the secretaries of National Security Councils of Central Asian countries in the Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan held in New Delhi on November 10, 2021 outlined a common regional approach on Afghanistan, it said.