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Connectivity with Central Asian countries key priority, says Doval

NSA Doval also highlighted the Rare Earths Cooperation/Strategic Mineral Collaboration…reports Asian Lite News

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on Tuesday underscored the importance of connectivity and economic integration with the Central Asian countries and said that it is a key priority for India.

” Connectivity and economic integration with the Central Asian countries is a key priority for India. However, while promoting connectivity, it is important to ensure that connectivity initiatives are consultative, transparent and participatory,” Doval said while participating in the second meeting of the India-Central Asia Secretaries/National Security Advisers of the Security Councils in Kazakhstan.

The meeting hosted by Kazakhstan was attended by the National Security Advisers/Secretaries of the National Security Councils of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Moreover, Turkmenistan was represented by their Embassy in Astana. Doval further said that they (Central Asian countries) should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.

“They should also adhere to environmental parameters, ensure financial viability and not become debt burdens,” he added. However, he said that the absence of direct land access between Central Asia and India is an anomaly.

“This absence of direct connectivity is the result of a conscious policy of denial by a particular country. This situation is not only self-defeating for this country but it also reduces the collective well-being of the entire region,” he added.

Notably, India is a member of both the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the Ashgabat Agreement. Doval further invited the Central Asian neighbours to utilize the Chabahar port as well as its Shaheed Bahesti terminal operated by India.

“Invited Central Asian neighbours to utilize the Chabahar port as well as its Shaheed Bahesti terminal operated by an Indian company for maritime trade and solicited support for including Chabahar port within the framework of INSTC,” he said.

Moreover, both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan will be joining the INSTC soon. With this, all five Central Asian countries will be a member of the INSTC.

The other key points made by NSA Doval during the meeting revolved around the relations between India and the Central Asian countries including in the political, trade, economy, security and defence fields that have transformed into multifaceted and mutually beneficial relations based on mutual trust, understanding and friendship.

“Central Asia and India face common security challenges and threats. Malign actors from interconnected networks threaten our shared neighbourhood,” he said.

Doval further highlighted Digital Public Infrastructure, noting that India is ready to provide technology patented by our Central Bank, also known as United Payment Interface (UPI) free of cost to Central Asian countries for their independent use.

“Facilities setting up of sovereign digital real-time payment systems in accordance with the need and requirement in your countries. Such a system will greatly enhance commercial linkages and benefit people who may have to travel to India for medical treatment,” he stated.

He further stressed that it will also help businessmen and Indian students, studying in Central Asian countries.

NSA Doval also highlighted the Rare Earths Cooperation/Strategic Mineral Collaboration and said that India proposed to set up an India-Central Asia Rare Earths Forum for possible partnerships in the rare earth and strategic minerals domain.

“This will also facilitate the participation of Indian private companies in this region for investments and joint economic development,” he said.

He further added that such collaborations should be mutually beneficial, transparent and designed to meet long-term requirements.

Further discussing ‘terrorism’, Doval noted that terrorism in all forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

“Any act of terrorism, regardless of its motivation or cause, is unjustifiable. Offered fully funded capacity building programmes in a wide range of areas,” he said. (ANI)

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NSA Ajit Doval visits Oman to boost ties

The NSA also held wide ranging discussions with General Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nomani, Minister of the Royal Office and Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Oman’s Foreign Minister…reports Asian Lite News

 National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on Monday paid an official visit to Oman and called on country’s top leader Sultan Haitham bin Tarik.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry Of External Affairs, Doval delivered him a personal message of greetings from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The NSA also held wide ranging discussions with General Sultan bin Mohammed Al Nomani, Minister of the Royal Office and Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Oman’s Foreign Minister.

The discussions enabled a high level review of the multifaceted bilateral relations between India and Oman with focus on strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation in key areas for economic and technological development, mutual security and regional stability, the statement added.

The visit by NSA reflects the strong bilateral relationship between India and Oman, the importance of the Sultanate of Oman as a key partner for India in the Gulf and highlights India’s commitment to strengthening its strategic partnership with Oman, it said further.

The visit provided an opportunity for high-level engagements and further cemented the strong bonds of friendship between India and the Sultanate of Oman.

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India, UK NSAs set to meet in London

The visit of NSA Doval to London comes right after he met his US counterpart Jake Sullivan in Washington last week.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is all set to meet his UK counterpart Tim Barrow in London, sources said.

In September 2022, Tim Barrow was chosen to serve as National Security Adviser of the UK. Barrow was once the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s (FCDO) Political Director and Second Permanent Under-Secretary, according to the official website of the Government of the UK.

The ties between India and the UK are often described as a Living Bridge, a dynamic economic force of people, businesses and ideas.

India and the United Kingdom (UK) share a comprehensive strategic partnership with each other. The two nations have also concluded six rounds of negotiations for a trade deal and will begin the next round very soon.

Notably, India and UK began the negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement between the two nations in January 2022. The UK-India free trade agreement is well-advanced. Although trade at the moment is worth 29.6 billion pounds, India is only the 12th largest trading partner of the UK.

India’s NSA Ajit Doval with US counterpart Jake Sullivan

The British High Commissioner also emphasised the advantages of the India-UK free trade agreement, which he says is supported by the mutual trust between the two countries, in an exclusive interview with ANI.

Britain’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the country’s first leader of Indian descent had earlier conveyed his hope of finalising the trade agreement during a call with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

The visit of NSA Doval to London comes right after he met his US counterpart Jake Sullivan in Washington last week. (ANI)

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Doval to meet Central Asian counterparts in Delhi

This first India-Central Asia coincided with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Central Asian countries…reports Asian Lite News

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval will meet his counterparts from Central Asian countries in New Delhi on Tuesday.

This will be the first time that NSAs of Central Asian countries will be in the national capital for a security meeting amid the evolving humanitarian and security situation in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted the first India-Central Asia Summit in virtual format on January 27, which was attended by the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

This first India-Central Asia coincided with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Central Asian countries.

During the Summit, Prime Minister Modi and the Central Asian Leaders discussed the next steps in taking India-Central Asia relations to new heights. During the summit, the leaders had agreed to institutionalize the Summit mechanism by deciding to hold it every two years.

They also agreed on regular meetings of Foreign Ministers, Trade Ministers, Culture Ministers and Secretaries of the Security Council to prepare the groundwork for the Summit meetings. An India-Central Asia Secretariat in New Delhi would be set up to support the new mechanism.

The leaders discussed far-reaching proposals to further cooperation in trade and connectivity, development cooperation, defence and security and, in particular, cultural and people-to-people contacts.

These included a Round Table on Energy and Connectivity; Joint Working Groups at the senior official level on Afghanistan and the use of Chabahar Port; showcasing of Buddhist exhibitions in Central Asian countries and joint counter-terrorism exercises.

They also agreed to visit 100 member youth delegations annually from Central Asian countries to India and special courses for Central Asian diplomats.

A comprehensive Joint Declaration was adopted by the leaders that enumerated their common vision for an enduring and comprehensive India-Central Asia partnership. (ANI)

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‘India stands by its CAA commitment’: Doval assures Afghan sikhs

India will sympathetically look at cases of members of the minority community in Afghanistan applying for visas, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has said and noted that New Delhi will stand by its commitment to Sikhs and Hindus in the neighbouring country.

“The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) clearly states that in case any of the minorities in our neighbouring countries are persecuted on the basis of their religion…we have given visas to large number of Sikhs,” Doval said in an exclusive interview with ANI.

“As flights are available, some of them will be coming back, others will apply, we will look at their cases very sympathetically,” he added.

He was responding to a question on the CAA and if India will be giving visas to more people of minority communities in Afghanistan.

Doval termed the attack on Karte Parwan Gurdwara in Kabul on Saturday last that resulted in the death of two persons as very unfortunate.

“It was a very unfortunate incident. Should not have happened. There are forces…terror and violence these are things with which we have to live in modern times. The Government of India is doing everything. It has assured the Sikhs and Hindus out there that India will stand by its commitment,” he said. added.

Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) took responsibility for Karte Parwan Gurdwara attack in Kabul.

Following the attack on on the gurdwara, India decided to grant e-visas to over 100 Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan on priority.

There have been other attacks and incidents of violence against religious minorities in Afghanistan.

Hardeep Puri meets family of Sikh man killed in Kabul, presents PM’s letter to Afghan Sikh community.(Photo: Hardeep Puri/Twitter)

In October last year,15 to 20 terrorists entered a Gurdwara in the Karta-e-Parwan District of Kabul and tied up the guards.

In March 2020, a deadly attack took place at Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Gurudwara in Kabul’s Short Bazaar area in which at least 27 Sikhs were killed. Islamic State terrorists claimed responsibility for the attack. (ANI)

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Doval highlights the relevance of rule of law

He said they were sources of inspiration as they led central and state forces and played a vital role in national building in the post-Independence period…reports Asian Lite News.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday said that no nation can be built where rule of law has failed, where people cannot feel safe and secure and where law enforcers are weak, corrupt and partisan.

Addressing the trainee officers of Indian Police Service (IPS) at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) here, he said they have a vital role to play in nation building through enforcement of laws.

“Quintessence of democracy does not lie in the ballot box. It lies in the laws made by people who are elected through those ballot boxes. You are the enforcers of laws. Laws are not as good as they are made. Laws are as good as they are executed and implemented and the service that people are able to get out of it,” he said after reviewing the colourful Dikshant Parade.

He told the IPS probationers that if they fail to enforce laws in letter and spirit in which they were made they are as good or as bad as they were made.

A total of 132 officer trainees of 73rd batch of IPS and 17 officers of Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal passed out of the academy after 46 weeks of phase-1 training.

Darpan Ahluwalia, a Punjab cadre woman IPS probationer led the passing out parade. Hailing from Mohali and an MBBS degree holder from the Government Medical College, Patiala, she is the sixth woman to lead the parade at the academy in more than seven decades.

Academy Director Atul Karwal said Darpan Ahluwalia is also the overall topper of the basic course phase-1 training that include indoor and outdoor courses.

Doval advised the trainee officers to develop a national perspective to really contribute their mite. “Do not forget that you are for India and India is for you. Interest of India should be supreme,” he said.

The NSA said that service of people was the greatest service not only from the point of view of nation building but also from the point of view of national security. “Wars ceased to have become effective instruments for achieving their political and military objectives.

They are too expensive and unaffordable and at the same time there is uncertainty about their outcome. It is civil society that can be subverted, can be divided and manipulated to hurt the interests of a nation.”

He also emphasised the need to maintain internal security. “If internal security fails, no country can be great and if people are not safe and secure and can’t rise to their potential, no country can grow,” he said.

The NSA told the police officers that they not only have to enforce the laws but they are also supposed to protect and maintain peace and order in 32 lakh square km. He said the policing also extends to border management in 15,000 km border areas with Pakistan, China and other neighbouring countries and with different types of security related issues.

Doval pointed out that SVPNPA has trained 5,700 officers since 1948 and many among them excelled and brought honours and laurels. He said they were sources of inspiration as they led central and state forces and played a vital role in national building in the post-Independence period.

“They led brave men and women of about 21 lakh persons in states and at Centre. 35,480 of the bravehearts sacrificed their lives. They were the great leaders who were able to inspire and make people give the highest sacrifice. These are the qualities of leadership that we expect from each one of you,” said Doval, who also passed out from the same academy.

Mentioning that 40 of the IPS officers who passed out from the Academy were martyred, he said they all played a similar role in nation building. “You too have a great role ahead. You will all see the 100th year of India’s independence and beyond. It will be a different India at that time. India is on the march and you will be leading these police forces at a time when India will have a new place in the international arena,” he added.

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Doval to attend SCO’s NSA meet next week

The SCO has eight member states — Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan…reports Asian Lite News.

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval will participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meet next week in Dushanbe.

Next week’s meeting will see the in-person participation of NSAs of SCO countries, including Pakistani NSA Moeed Yusuf.

There is no confirmation of Indian and Pakistani NSAs bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SCO meet.

Tajikistan is the chair of the grouping. It took the chairmanship at a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in November of 2020.

The SCO has eight member states — Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Last year in September, Ajit Doval stormed out of the SCO’s virtual meeting of national security advisors after Pakistan showed a “fictitious” map violating the agenda of the gathering.

In March, Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi attended the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the “Heart of Asia” on March 30 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. No meeting between the two took place.

In recent months, Pakistani political and army leadership seems to have toned down rhetoric against India.

Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in April said a stable relationship between India and Pakistan is key to unlocking the potential of South and Central Asia by ensuring connectivity between East and West Asia.

“We feel it is time to bury the past and move forward,” he said, adding that the onus for meaningful dialogue rests with India.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had also said India would have to take the first step for improving bilateral relations by addressing the Kashmir issue.

In February, India and Pakistan had announced that they had agreed to a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) which was followed by Indus water talks, sporting visas and other measures. (ANI)

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