New Delhi, Feb.22 (ANI): Relations between India and Kazakhstan took another step forward this past week with New Delhi playing host to the third Senior Officials Committee (SOC) meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
Chaired by Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev, the day-long meeting took some significant decisions, a key one being; an agreement for implementation of various confidence building measures (CBMs) for the next 16 months. Participants also announced plans for preparing a perception paper for the promotion ofilitary-politico-based CBMs.
In an informal interaction with a select group of media personnel, academics and intellectuals, Yermekbayev announced that Turkey will host a meeting of police chiefs hailing from the 20 CICA member states in the second half of 2009, who would be tasked with the responsibility of framing an action plan to meet new challenges and threats.
He also said new CICA entrant Israel would host a seminar-cum-workshop in one of five areas - water management; advance agriculture; hi-tech development; disaster and crisis management and trauma medicine.
Russia, Azerbaijan and South Korea would each host meetings of experts in 2009 to consider draft concept papers on implementation of CBMs in areas being coordinated by them, he added.
Mongolia, he said, has been selected as the coordinating country for environment-related issues under the CICA umbrella.
Acknowledging that the progress of CICA since its creation 16 years ago may not appear to be very significant, the Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister said given Asia's diverse continental character and manifestation, it was necessary to continue with a step-by-step approach to realize the five key CBM objectives of this regional grouping - (1) political-military (2) fight against new challenges and threats (3) economic (4) environmental and (5) humanitarian.
"There is vast potential for joint actions in the fields like trade, economy, environment, disaster relief, transportation, energy, cultural exchange, dialogue among civilizations and new challenges and threats," he said.
Dwelling specifically on CICA's external relations, Yermekbayev said the focus would continue to be on strengthening cooperation between CICA and other regional and international organizations and fora. He said the next conference of Asian regional and sub-regional organizations in Kyrgyzstan in September this year should be seen as a good opportunity to "highlight the spirit and principles of CICA" and ensure its wider recognition by the international community.
Future plans include extending invitations to the secretariats and administrative bodies of Asian organizations such as SAARC, APEC, ASEAN, ACD, SCO, ECO, EURASEC and others, he said, adding that he hoped that this Asian security forum would become an annual affair.
Kazakhstan, he concluded, would host the 2010 Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). By Ashok Dixit (ANI)