The Ministry of External Affairs of India says Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will host the first meeting of the India-Central Asia Summit, with the participation of the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, in a virtual format on 27 January 2022.

This will be the first engagement of its kind between India and the Central Asian countries at the level of leaders.

India’s Ministry of external Affairs notes that the first India-Central Asia Summit is a reflection of India’s growing engagement with the Central Asian countries, which are a part of India’s "Extended Neighborhood”.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi reportedly paid a historic visit to all Central Asian countries in 2015.  Subsequently, there have been exchanges at high-levels at bilateral and multilateral forums.

The inception of the India-Central Asia Dialogue at Foreign Ministers’ level, the 3rd meeting of which was held in New Delhi from December 18-20, 2021, has reportedly provided an impetus to India-Central Asia relations.

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, according to the Ministry of External Affairs of India.

During the first India-Central Asia Summit, the Leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights.  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.

India’s ‘Extended Neighborhood’, which has been variously defined in geographical terms, includes countries sharing land and maritime borders whose list goes beyond the geographical description of South Asia; apart from Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, countries sharing land and maritime borders with India are China, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Maldives.  In addition, several countries, in proximity, outside of this list are tied to India through close economic and diasporic links and the developments wherein are perceived by Indian policymakers as having strategic implications; one could include in this category countries in the Indian Ocean Region, on the East African seaboard, in the Gulf Region, Afghanistan, in the Central Asian Region as well as countries in south-east Asia.