India and five Central Asian nations on Sunday supported gradual restoration of the people-to-people contacts, tourism and business ties as they called on for early mutual recognition of Covid vaccine certification.
Foreign Ministers of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan took part in the dialogue. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan welcomed the mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates between India and their countries, while Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were looking forward to early mutual recognition of vaccine certification with India, said the joint statement after the India-Central Asia Dialogue.
"The Ministers supported gradual restoration of the people-to-people contacts, tourism and business ties between India and Central Asian countries. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic welcomed the mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates between India and their countries while the Ministers of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan looked forward to early mutual recognition of vaccine certification with India."
They highly appreciated the role of the India-Central Asia Dialogue as an effective platform for strengthening the multifaceted cooperation and exchanging views on various regional and international issues of mutual interest.
They emphasized that the establishment of long-term relations between Central Asia and India is aimed at enhancing regional peace, security, stability, sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the region. They discussed further strengthening of the India-Central Asia Dialogue and agreed to hold regular annual meetings of the Dialogue.
The Ministers expressed satisfaction at the ongoing Central Asia-India cooperation in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The Foreign Ministers of Central Asian countries appreciated India's assistance in the supply of vaccines and essential medicines during their early stage of fight against Covid-19.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar expressed gratitude for the supplies received from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and the offer made by Turkmenistan during the second wave of Covid-19 in India in April-May 2021.
In the statement, the ministers also noted the current level of trade and investment between India and Central Asian countries and stressed on the importance of making concerted efforts to achieve the full potential for trade, especially in sectors like pharmaceuticals, information technology, agriculture, energy, textiles, gems and jewellery etc.
They encouraged the development of direct contacts between the States of India and the Regions of Central Asian countries, including through the signing of Agreements/MoUs on the establishment of twinning/partnership relations between the states of the Republic of India and the regions of Central Asian countries.
The ministers further noted the need for continued large-scale and long-term economic cooperation between Central Asian countries and India in order to strengthen and expand interconnectivity. In this context, the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan stressed on the importance of the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project.
The sides also expressed their desire to deepen cooperation between India and the Central Asian countries in the health-care sector, including medical tourism. Increasing tourist arrivals, including in the segments of pilgrimage and historical and cultural tourism, creating tourism trails across the region, encouraging investment in tourism infrastructure were emphasized.
Taking note of a large number of students from India and the Central Asian countries studying in each other's higher educational institutions, the Ministers stressed the importance of ensuring their welfare.
The ministers also expressed interest in strengthening mutual cooperation in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation by enhancing direct cooperation between government organizations, research institutes, innovation centres and technological enterprises of India and the Central Asian countries.