India Hosts Meeting of NSAs From Central Asia

New Delhi: Financing is the lifeline of terrorism and countering it should be a priority, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said on Tuesday as he held a meeting with his counterparts from Central Asian countries to discuss terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan, and other regional issues in New Delhi.

Speaking at the first meeting of NSAs of India and Central Asian countries, Doval focused on the challenge of terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan, and the importance of regional connectivity projects. The NSAs of India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan participated in the meeting. Turkmenistan was represented by its Ambassador in New Delhi. Doval presided over the meeting.

A joint release issued after the meeting said the NSAs of India and the Central Asian countries discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the security and stability of the region, expressing strong support for a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan. Security officials also stressed that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used for shelter, training, planning or financing any terrorist activities.

Earlier, Doval said, “Financing terrorism is its lifeblood, and countering terror financing should be an equal priority for all of us. We should also call on all UN members to fulfill obligations enshrined in relevant counter-terror conventions and protocols, and refrain from providing any form of support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts,” he said.

The release said officials agree that the spread of terrorist propaganda, recruitment, and fundraising efforts has serious security implications for the region, and therefore a collective and coordinated response is necessary.

“The misuse of new and emerging technologies, arms and drugs trafficking, using terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism, abuse of cyberspace to spread disinformation and unmanned aerial systems present new challenges in counter-terrorism efforts and call for collective action,” it said. The mention of cross-border terrorism is seen as a reference to Pakistan from India’s perspective.

The meeting also strongly called for the early adoption of the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to effectively deal with this menace. The security officials reaffirmed the importance of UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021) that “no terrorist organization including those designated by the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 should be provided sanctuary or allowed to use the territory of Afghanistan”.

The NSA’s noted the current deteriorating humanitarian situation and the need to jointly act to assist the people of Afghanistan, the communique said. It said the meeting condemned in the strongest terms all forms of terrorism and underscored the need to work collectively to fight this menace.

Doval also said that connectivity initiatives should be consultative, transparent, and participatory. “While expanding connectivity, it is important to ensure that connectivity initiatives are consultative, transparent and participatory, with respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries,” he said, in an oblique reference to China’s BRI.

The joint communique said that it was agreed that connectivity initiatives should be based on principles of transparency, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, in what is seen as a tacit endorsement of New Delhi’s views on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Describing Central Asia as India’s extended neighborhood, Doval said New Delhi accords highest priority to this region, adding Afghanistan is an important issue concerning all of us.

The meeting chaired by Doval also emphasized the need for respecting Afghanistan’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity and urged non-interference in its internal affairs.

This is the first time that NSAs of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are in Delhi for a high-level security meeting, which flows from the India-Central Asia virtual summit that took place in January this year. In November last year, India hosted a regional dialogue on the Afghanistan situation that was attended by NSAs of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The NSAs will be meeting again under the rubric of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in India next year as well.

By Archana

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