India ready to invest, build connectivity in Central Asia: Kovind



President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday said that India is ready to invest and build connectivity in central Asia.

Addressing young diplomats of Turkmenistan at the Institute of International Relations in Ashgabat,  the President noted that India is a member of both the International North-South Transport Corridor, and the Ashgabat Agreement.

He said that building connectivity with Central Asian countries remain a key priority of India.

“India stands ready to cooperate, invest and build connectivity in the region, ” he said.

“We have taken steps to operationalise the Chabahar port in Iran which can provide a secure, viable and unhindered access to the sea for the central Asian countries,” the President said. 

He said that while expanding connectivity, it is important to ensure that connectivity initiatives are consultative, transparent and participatory, with respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.

The President said that India’s foreign policy has been constantly evolving since its independence. India’s emergence as one of the major economies of the world and the relevance of India’s technological capabilities has shaped key global negotiations, he said.

“India’s partnerships with countries of the Global South have grown substantially while its relations with major powers have deepened further. “

He also said that one of the key pillars of India’s foreign policy in recent years has been the “Neighbourhood First” policy.

The overarching philosophy of India’s engagement with its neighbours is to ensure that they also benefit from our economic development and growth. Thus, the focus of our Neighbourhood First policy is to enhance connectivity, augment trade and investment, and build a secure and stable neighbourhood, he said.

He said that while ‘Indo-Pacific’ is a recent addition to the geopolitical lexicon, India’s engagement with the Indo-Pacific region goes back several centuries. The dynamism and vitality of the region makes it a global economic centre.

“We stand for an open, balanced, rules-based and stable international trade regime in the Indo-Pacific,” the President said.

The President said that one of the focus areas of Indian foreign policy in the last few years has been the revitalization of our historical ties with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of our ‘extended neighbourhood’.


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