Central Asia, New Focal Point Of Foreign Policy

New Delhi, Nov 2: | Updated: Nov 3 2003, 05:30am hrs
Central Asia will be the dominant theme of Indias foreign policy for the month of November. Sources said furthering trade and business relations would be the aim of month-long activities being fine tuned by the ministry of external affairs.

Central Asia (CA) is the closet neighbourhood for India. For the first time in the history of independent CA we have air links and embassies with each country. This was not so till September 2003, said a senior official.

First on the calendar will be the visit by Kyrgyzstan minister of foreign trade and industry Sadridin Djiyenbekov who will be arriving at New Delhi on November 4, followed by its President Askar Akaev. Tourism, hydro electricity, light ind-ustries besides commercial farming will form part of the agenda.

Stating that trade and flag will be marching together, an official said that if some countries treated CA as a great game in the 19th century, India treated the region as a great opportunity for both sides in the 21st century.

The government is organising an exhibition on Consumer and Industrial Goods along with Indo-CIS Chamber of Commerce, in Uzbekistan in November, where several Indian business majors are expected to participate.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will inaugurate the Made in India expo organised by CII in Dushambe, Tajikistan. Mr Vajpayee is leading a high level team(which was finalised in a record time of three weeks). Tajikistan produced hydro electricity, had the biggest reserves of silver, was the largest producer of cotton, which were of interest to India, sources said.

According to defence ministry sources, George Fernandes would be on a three day visit from November 5-7 to Kyrgysztan and Kazakhstan. This is a goodwill visit, said sources. In a Food Expo being organised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from November 27, ITPO is organising the Indian participation and Indian Tea Board too will be attending. Several Indian food processing companies would be there, sources added.