Interaction with the Visiting Delegation from Uzbekistan | Vivekananda International Foundation
Interaction with the Visiting Delegation from Uzbekistan
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) organized an interaction with the Visiting Delegation from Uzbekistan, led by Mr. Akmal Burkhanov, Director of Development Strategy Center (DSC) and Member of Parliament, Uzbekistan. The senior-level delegation was accompanied by H. E. Farhod Arziyev, the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to India. From the VIF, discussions were led by Director Dr Arvind Gupta, Amb D. P. Srivastava, Amb Skand Ranjan Tayal, Amb Rajeev Sikri, Amb Ashok Sharma, Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney and Prof Nirmala Joshi also took part in the discussion. Amb Gitesh Sarma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and former Indian ambassador to Uzbekistan, delivered his special remarks on ‘India-Uzbekistan Relations’.

Salient points that emerged from the Discussion are as follows:-

India- Uzbekistan Relations

• India and Uzbekistan have historical and cultural relations that go back to ancient times. Uzbekistan is India’s extended neighbor, and a Strategic Partner. This relationship is multi-faceted and spans many areas like political, trade- economic, education, science and technology, industry, agriculture, civil aviation and defense.

• Prime Minister Modi’s two visits to Tashkent in July 2015 and June 2016, and his meeting with the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Astana in June 2017 on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, provided impetus to strengthen the relationship. Uzbek President’s planned visit to New Delhi later this year is a timely opportunity to enhance the cooperation further.

• There is a huge potential in enhancing the defense cooperation, through joint ventures in defense production, defense training to larger groups of cadets and border management. Counter-terrorism is another such area, where the two nations can collaborate, bilaterally as well as within SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based at Tashkent.

• Trade between the two countries is much below the potential, which cannot be boosted without improving connectivity. India’s connectivity projects in the region, the International North South Transit Corridor (INSTC) and the Chabahar Agreement can help develop land access to Uzbekistan. However, Uzbekistan is currently not the member of the INSTC. India’s accession to the Ashgabat Agreement, where Uzbekistan is already a member, is also crucial in this regard.

Uzbekistan - Strategy of Actions

• In 2017, through a presidential decree, Uzbekistan adopted the ‘National Action Strategy on five Priority Development Areas 2017-2022’, covering areas like modernization of public administration, reforms in the judicial system, liberalization of economy, social development, and foreign policy. Some of the initiatives like, creation of people’s reception rooms, machinery to ensure independence of judiciary, simplifying legal procedures, mechanism ensuring ease of doing business, and announcement of as many as 45 small industrial zones, are noteworthy.

• Government’s declaration of the year 2018 as ‘Year of Proactive Entrepreneurship, Innovative Ideas and Technology’ reflects its program of economic liberalization that creates favorable environment for business and investment.

Foreign Policy of Mirziyoyev

• Since coming to power in 2016, President Mirziyoyev has made Central Asia a key priority of his foreign policy. Relations between, Uzbekistan on one hand and other four Central Asian Republics on the other hand, have undergone drastic change in last one year. This includes more frequent high-level interactions, enhanced trade and economic cooperation, agreements on border demarcation, cooperation in hydropower projects, and opening of border crossing points.

• President Mirziyoyev’s attempts have created a positive environment for regional cooperation, which led to all the Central Asian leaders (less Turkmenistan) coming together on one platform in Astana in March 2018.

Afghanistan

• Being an Afghan-bordering state, Uzbekistan has enhanced its engagements in Afghanistan. President Ghani’s visit to Tashkent in 2017 led to agreements in connectivity, energy and trade. Uzbekistan, which constructed a railway between Hairatan and Mazar-e-sharif, now plans to expand this line till Herat. A rail corridor through Afghanistan can be crucial for landlocked Uzbekistan to access the Sea Ports of Iran.

• Governments of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, under the auspices of the United Nations, held an International High-level conference on “Afghanistan: Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity” at Tashkent in March 2018. The declaration of this conference states that peace and security in Afghanistan are essential for ensuring stability and prosperity in the region. It also calls for an ‘Afghan-led and Afghan-owned’ political settlement to establish peace.

• India and Uzbekistan both are playing an active in re-building Afghanistan. The two nations can potentially work together in Afghanistan in arenas like connectivity, education, food security and health.

Event Date 
May 21, 2018

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