CICA can serve as bridging platform to bring together India and China: Official | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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CICA can serve as bridging platform to bring together India and China: Official

May 23, 2023 09:44 PM IST

India has been a member of CICA since the creation of the inter-governmental forum was proposed by the leadership of Kazakhstan in 2002

NEW DELHI: The Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) can help bring together India and China, whose relations are strained because of a border dispute, and act as a bridge to other regional groupings, a top official of the forum said on Tuesday.

CICA secretary general Kairat Sarybay was in New Delhi for meetings with senior Indian officials (Twitter/)
CICA secretary general Kairat Sarybay was in New Delhi for meetings with senior Indian officials (Twitter/)

India has been a member of CICA since the creation of the inter-governmental forum was proposed by the leadership of Kazakhstan in 2002. India is currently responsible for coordinating efforts between the 28 member states of CICA to combat terrorism.

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CICA secretary general Kairat Sarybay, who was in New Delhi for meetings with senior Indian officials, told reporters the forum could act as a “bridging platform” amid differences and even “hotspots” involving some of its member states. He, however, pointed out that bilateral issues cannot be taken up by CICA and the forum has no “magic stick” to help find solutions.

Sarybay was responding to questions from reporters on whether CICA’s functioning has been affected by the border standoff between India and China, which recently entered its fourth year, and whether the forum has any plans to help de-escalate tensions between the two countries.

If two countries with differences do not bilaterally have the will to resolve the issue, CICA has no “magic stick to help and assist”, Sarybay said. “But what can CICA do? In a collateral way, it can create confidence, bringing the sides together, giving them the platform where they can meet each other without any compromise, but with the will to solve the problem,” he said.

“So that is why CICA is a very valuable mechanism. But CICA is not a magic stick,” he added.

In this context, Sarybay pointed to the very first CICA Summit held in Almaty in 2002, which helped facilitate a meeting between then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan’s military ruler Pervez Musharraf at a time when tensions were running high between the two countries.

CICA looks for synergy with other regional groupings, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and will not compete with them. “I would consider SCO as a partner organisation...Secondly, we can serve as an outreach platform. Many CICA member states would like to know what’s happening in SCO, but they are not keen to be full-fledged members...Through this complementarity, we can serve as a bridging platform,” he said.

CICA’s comprehensive membership ranges from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, and its members are drawn from West, East, Central, North and South Asia. “This is how we value CICA as a pan-continental platform and this is our strength,” he said, adding there is flexibility for members to work on CBMS that are more relevant to them.

Sarybay said his discussions with minister of state for external affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh and secretary (West) Sanjay Verma of the external affairs ministry focused on fostering an “Asian Spirit” and practical cooperation within CICA. India is also coordinating CICA’s efforts in energy security and transport.

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