‘Stability of Central Asia imperative for India’s development’

New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) Expressing concern over rise of extremism and militancy including the Islamic State (IS), India on Thursday called upon its Central Asian partners to ensure prevalence of moderate views of assimilation and accommodation.

Addressing the 4th India-Central Asia Dialogue here, Sujata Mehta, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said that security, stability and prosperity of Central Asia was imperative for peace and economic development in India.

“The rise of Da’esh (IS) has added another dimension to extremism and militancy in the region. Reports suggest that those from Central Asia who have gone to fight for Da’esh are likely to return to their roots to pursue their sinister agenda back home; there are already signs of Da’esh fighters joining, coordinating and launching terrorist attacks having returned battle-hardened and indoctrinated.

“The challenge for our Central Asian partners is to act to ensure that moderate views of assimilation and accommodation prevail amidst an onslaught of extremism,” she said.

Mehta also said that regional security was a “continuing concern” and said significance of Central Asian region in the foreign policy matrix of India cannot be “overemphasised”.

“The situation in neighbouring Afghanistan, which shares a border with three Central Asian countries, is yet to stabilise. Drug trafficking and associated criminal activities have been a bane for the people of this region,” she said.

“We are each other’s extended neighbourhood and the region has been a priority area of interest for Indian policymakers, practitioners and thinker,” she added.

Observing that the current scenario presented immense challenges, Mehta said it offered potential for India and Central Asia to qualitatively enhance their engagement.

“Both India and Central Asia are factors of peace, stability, growth and development in the region and the world. Stronger relations between us will contribute to increased security and prosperity of these countries and the world,” she added.

–IANS

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