Chandigarh, Oct 17: Vice President Hamid Ansari Wednesday said here that India needs to focus more on resource-rich and strategically located Central Asia as it is one of the fastest growing regions of the world.
Delivering inaugural address at the national seminar on ‘India and Central Asia: Perspectives on Bilateral and Regional Cooperation’ organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here Wednesday, Ansari said that collective and coordinated approach needs to be worked out by institutions studying Central Asia.
Central Asia includes former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The region is rich in oil, gas and other minerals.
“Different aspects of modern Central Asia are being studied in different research institutions in the country and the need of the hour is to enhance coordination and cooperation amongst them to avoid overlapping, ensure better utilisation of available resources and eventually, more meaningful inputs for our foreign policy objectives,” Ansari said.
He said that over the past two decades, despite being land-locked, Central Asia has emerged as one of the fastest growing regions in the world and has displayed considerable development potential.
“It is resource rich in terms of oil, gas, gold, cotton, rare-earths, has relatively advanced infrastructure and human capital, and enjoys the benefit of a strategic location between Asia and Europe. Many of the central Asian Republics have embarked on market-oriented economic reforms to boost private sector competitiveness and economic performance,” he said.
“As a result, leading and aspiring powers are active in the region in quest of natural resources, energy pipelines and transit routes leading to wide ranging geopolitical considerations pertaining to security, prevention of drug and arms smuggling, and countering terrorism and fundamentalism,” he pointed out.
He said that no discussion on Central Asia and its immediate neighbourhood would be complete without taking on board the challenges arising out of the situation in Afghanistan.
“The lesson of history is that hegemonic prescriptions do not sustain themselves and result in greater chaos. The entire region would therefore benefits if realistic alternatives are thought of and Afghanistan drawn into a cooperative regional economic and security framework,” Ansari said.