Q. What is the significance of the recent visit of Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zaparov to Uzbekistan?
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Replied by Dr Pravesh Kumar Gupta

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan had thorny relations with its neighbours. Soviet border Delimitation in the 1930s demarcated the frontiers of the Central Asian region with considering the ethnic composition of the region. This had become a serious issue when these countries become independent republics following the disintegration of the Soviet Union. As a result, many Uzbek enclaves in Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyz enclaves in Uzbekistan emerged. Ethnic conflicts related to land and water resources distribution have added to the already troubled border between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

However, following Islam Karimov’s death in 2016 and the relative warming of Uzbekistan’s previously harsh relations with its neighbours, both countries made progress on settling their undemarcated border areas. There are still around 200 kilometers yet to be demarcated. The Kyrgyz-Uzbek border is 1,378 kilometers long, and about 1,100 kilometers have been demarcated. What remains is difficult territory to determine ownership of, much of it around various exclaves dotting southern Kyrgyzstan. The recent visit of the Kyrgyz President on March 11, 2021, is highly significant in this regard as both leaders discussed this issue in details.

Uzbek President Shawkat Mirziyoyeve came into power in 2017, and since then, he had a greater ambition of bringing a positive regional environment in Central Asia. On the other hand, new Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov won the presidential elections in January 2021 after political upheaval in the country. He visited Russia and Kazakhstan before he visited Tashkent. A convergence of interest between Bishkek and Tashkent exists. Therefore, a consistently high level interaction has brought the countries closure in their socio-economic and political exchanges.

Date : 25/03/2021
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