ASTANA : In pursuance of the decisions made during the India-Central Asia Summit in 2022, India hosted the first India-Central Asia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan on 07 March 2023. The meeting was attended by the Special Envoys/Senior Officials of the Republic of India, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. Country representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) also participated in the meeting.
The Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting was an opportunity for the regional countries to discuss important issues related to Afghanistan. The discussions were constructive and guided by the interests and welfare of common Afghans. During the meeting, the participants exchanged views on the current situation, including the political, security and the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The participants emphasized the importance of formation of a truly inclusive and representative political structure that respects the rights of all Afghans and ensures equal rights of women, girls and members of minority groups, including access to education.
Upon the requests by UNODC and Central Asian Republics, Indian side offered customized capacity building courses for their relevant stakeholders/officials. Moreover, India and UNODC also agreed to partner for the efforts to counter drug trafficking, including the efforts for rehabilitation of Afghan drug user population, especially the Afghan women and providing assistance in development of alternate livelihood opportunities.
To address the current humanitarian situation, Indian side announced its partnership with UNWFP for the delivery of 20,000 MTs of wheat for Afghan people through the Chabahar Port.
The participants adopted a joint statement and agreed to continue consultations in this format on a regular basis.