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Indian External Affairs State Minister visits Central Asia


Indian External Affairs State Minister visits Central Asia

Indian State Minister for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi concludes her diplomatic trip to Central Asia today, meant to solidify relations with Kazakhstan and Georgia. Photo: Indian Press Information Bureau

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi  concludes her visit to Kazakhstan today.

During the trip, Lekhi met with her Georgian and Kazakh counterparts to discuss bilateral relations. She also led the Indian delegation in the 6th Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit held in Astana. The forum aims to establish cooperation amongst the 27 member states in areas concerning security and diplomacy.

Lekhi’s diplomatic mission is part of the BJP government’s medium to long-term goal to establish stronger ties with Central Asian countries located in the ancient silk road path and increase New Delhi’s role in the region. In doing so, they aim counter Beijing’s influence in the region, strengthened through its Belt and Road Initiative. India also seeks to leverage Central Asian support to gain the upper hand in the ongoing proxy conflict with China over an array of issues including trade, the status of Kashmir, and periodic border skirmishes.

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This meeting will serve as a pretext for New Delhi to improve its existing relations with both states at the expense of Beijing. Moving forward, Beijing’s sway in the region will likely decrease, a major blow to China’s Belt and Road Initiative during the long-term.

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