India looks towards Five Central Asian leaders as R-Day chief guests.
Delhi is looking into plans to bring the heads from the five Central Asian countries to the Republic Day parade. Sources informed the media that three of them have borders with Afghanistan as the chief guests at the Republic Day parade and celebrations on the 26th of January.
An informal contact has already been initiated through diplomatic channels. The Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar is likely to meet on behalf of the foreign ministers from these five countries during the coming weekend.
READ MORE: Karnataka has reported a third Omicron case.
Sources said the mission will help prepare for the summit at the top level of the leaders.
If the plans are successful as long as the Covid situation is favorable, five presidents. They are Kazakhstan’s Kassym Jomart Tokayev, Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon and Turkmenistan’s Gurbanguly Birdimuhame Kyrgyzstan’s Sadyr Japarov.
According to sources, perhaps they will visit Delhi at the beginning of January.
Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan have a border shared with Afghanistan.
In the past, plans were developed to invite nations from the BIMSTEC grouping, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. However, the program did not occur, as sources claimed.
Five Central Asian countries are critical to the current situation in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Delhi has been in contact with them in the last few months.
Recently, the national security officers of five countries traveled to Delhi to participate in an international security conference about Afghanistan, which NSA Ajit Doval hosted. Each of them expressed concern over the current state of affairs in Afghanistan.
Engagement with Central Asian countries was first established in the past decade. For example, India set out”Connect Central Asian” as the “Connect Central Asia Policy” in 2012.
It received a boost when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the five nations in July 2015, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit these countries. Also, the visit was after the birth of these republics in the 1990s after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a frequent visitor to these regions in the Soviet Union.
The connection with these Central Asian countries is essential for a variety of reasons. It includes security cooperation in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, China’s influence in the strategically vital region.
Also, the connectivity plans include the International North-South Transit Corridor (INSTC), energy needs (Kazakhstan has Uranium reserves, and Turkmenistan is part of the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline), cultural links and potential for trade.
A request as the Republic Day chief guest is very symbolic from the government’s standpoint. However, the decision is influenced by many factors that include diplomatic and strategic and business and geo-politics.
Devika Chowdhury – She is a professional news editor, writer, and blogger for the last 10 years. She is working with NewsGater as an off-beat news editor cum writer.