NATIONAL

Energy cooperation high on Modi agenda

Mr. Modi’s visit assumes significance given the rising threat of the IS across the region and the situation in Afghanistan. Security personnel investigating the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on Tuesday.— Photo: AP

Mr. Modi’s visit assumes significance given the rising threat of the IS across the region and the situation in Afghanistan. Security personnel investigating the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on Tuesday.— Photo: AP  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s discussions with the Central Asian leaders during his week-long visit next week are also significant for national security strategy, say sources, as the countries border or are neighbours with Afghanistan, where India is watching the post-pullout security situation closely.

Energy cooperation including gas, oil and uranium, defence training and exercises, as well as trade transit through the newly opened avenues via Iran will also be high on the agenda as Mr. Modi visits the region.

At present the five Central Asian republics account for trade of only about $1.6 billion with India, compared to about $50 billion with China that has made them a key to its Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) initiative.

Mr. Modi will fly to Tashkent on July 6, spending one day in Uzbekistan, then Kazakhstan before heading to Ufa, where he will also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and could meet with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who will attend the SCO summit. Mr. Modi will then continue his Central Asian sojourn, going on to Turkmenistan, Kyrgyztan and Tajikistan.

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