14 May 2021 — Indian Punchline
1300-km long Tajik-Afghan border runs through difficult and dangerous terrain and is a major drug crossing area (File photo)
Ten months after the first meeting of the foreign ministers of China and the five Central Asian states, Beijing has followed through with a second session on May 11 at a gathering in Xi’an, China, hosted by Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
The venue is symbolic. The ancient city of Xi’an used to be the ‘terminus a quo’ of the Silk Road. And, perhaps, the timing too, as this is also the 25th anniversary of the ‘Shanghai Five’ process, where China, quietly but steadily, began building up its economic, military, and diplomatic relations with Central Asia and presented itself as viable partner.