Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building in Central Asia (CICA) India’s Concerns

29 Sep, 1999    ·   267

K.M. Pari Velan discusses the importance of Confernce on Interaction and Confidence building in Central Asia (CICA) and its implications for India

The recently held Conference on Interaction and Confidence building in Central Asia (CICA) at Almaty, Kazakhstan is significant in countering the menace of terrorism in the Asian region. The participants included India , Russia , Tajikistan , Uzbekistan , Kyrgyistan, Kazakhstan , Azerbaijan , China , Mongolia , Afghanistan , Pakistan , Iran , Israel , Egypt , Turkey , in addition to representatives of Palestinian Authority. 



The CICA focused on the following



·                     collective security against global terrorism




·                     identification of trans-border terrorism as common menace




·                     common mechanism to combat narco-religious terrorism in the Asian region 




·                     the emergence of common consensus from all members to end trans-border/global terrorism.




Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhastan emphasising the volatility of the Asian region due to terrorism and extremism proposed the idea of forming a forum way back in 1992 itself. The Central Asian states are keen on maintaining peace and order and are keen to keep the ethnic and fundamentalist disturbances away to pursue their nation building and modernization. The Central Asian States face a major fundamentalist-terrorist threat from the Afghanistan-Pakistan axis. This has implications not only for Central Asian region but also for the South Asian and West Asian regions. 



United States was a victim of it in the past that included the bombing of its embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam. Secondly, India became victim of it the Kargil, which heightened the tension in South Asian region. Thirdly, of late Russia is becoming a victim of trans-border terrorism as indicated by series of bomb blasts in Moscow and serious secessionist attempts in Dagestan [one of the provinces of the Russian Federation ]. China is a victim of trans-border terrorism in Xinjiang province. Hence, the menace of trans -border terrorism is far   reaching and it needs series concern from all to tackle it immediately.



It is in this context that the CICA summit held at Almaty, with the participation of sixteen members and United States as observer gains significance.



The foreign ministers from the sixteen countries who met at Almaty pledged to combat the threat of terrorism and to work together to boost peace and uphold democracy in Central, South, and West Asian region. All the participants gave a special commitment to wipe out terrorism. Another resolution passed was to desist from aiding organizations groups engaging in terrorism and to prevent their activities from their respective territories. 



India ’s External Affairs Minister, Jaswant Singh spoke in the CICA about New Delhi ’s inclination towards establishing a regional collective security arrangement to counter terrorism.  He further added ‘that our region is regrettably home to many terrorist groups and movements who recognize no frontiers.’



India has been emphasizing the need for collective action against terrorism in order to preserve not only its own security, but also that of the region and the globe. India urged the need for networking of cooperative structures as a basis for establishing a pluralistic Asian security order. India has been victim of trans-border terrorism for along time. The northwest and northeast borders have been fragile and easy gateway for the promotion of terrorist activities in India . The ISI backed terror-network has been creating havoc in India for quite sometime.   So by and large the CICA summit is a landmark in bringing the concerned states together in collectively tackling the threat of terrorism.  It is just a humble beginning in bringing awareness, consensus and some common mechanism in collectively combating the menace of terrorism. 



The CICA summit resulted in the following: 



• conveying the message  of the common threat of trans-border terrorism for all, 



• evolving a common mechanism to counter terrorism 



• making Pakistan  and Afghanistan feel  responsible for their support to trans- border terrorism, therefore to make them cooperative in ending the menace of terrorism.



India ’s efforts at CICA should be viewed in a larger perspective. India has been taking up the threat from terrorism and fundamentalism at various bilateral and multilateral levels. At bilateral level, the Indo-U.S dialogue on counter terrorism has reached a positive level, with the arrival of Michael A. Sheehan, U.S coordinator for counter- terrorism to New Delhi . Washington has expressed its keenness to institutionalize cooperation among states to prevent terrorist bombings, secondly, to evolve an international legal framework to tackle terrorists. This includes proposal for extraditing suspects or the right to prosecute them in third countries. Besides, India and Russia have decided to accelerate their cooperation against terrorism. This understanding was reached during a brief visit by the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to New Delhi . The urgency is obviously in the backdrop of both being victims of trans-border terrorism and extremist violence. Further, India emphasised the issue of countering terrorism in the 54th General Assembly session.