Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 11
India and Uzbekistan signed nine MoUs along with confirmation of a $448 million line of credit (LoC) during a virtual summit on Friday between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Uzbekistan in-principle agreed to join the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), promoted by India, Russia and Iran, which is handicapped by less use. Uzbekistan’s use of the corridor would add to the overall improvement of connectivity in the larger Eurasian space, read a joint statement issued after the summit.
Uzbekistan has proposed a trilateral dialogue among India, Iran and Uzbekistan to promote connectivity through the India-operated Chabahar port, Adarsh Swaika, Joint Secretary (Eurasia) in the Ministry of External Affairs, told newspersons.
Mirziyoyev wanted to explore the possibility of implementing priority developmental projects in Uzbekistan as part of the $1 billion LoC offered by India for Central Asian countries during the second meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue.
Over the past couple of years, with a new leader as President after 25 years of Islam Karimov, Central Asia’s most populous nation has sought to open out beyond its traditional partners.
With India, it held its first-ever joint military exercises and the first bilateral dialogue between the National Security Councils last year. They also resolved to strengthen cooperation between the law enforcement agencies and special services of the two countries.
Tashkent is in the process of supplying uranium for India’s nuclear power plants under an agreement signed last year.
The emerging developmental partnership is expected to supplement efforts for closer security and regional ties. The $448 million LoC will be used in road construction, sewerage treatment and information technology projects as India seeks to get more involved in High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs).
PM Modi and the Uzbek President had similarity of views on terrorism, with both reaffirming their determination to combat the menace by destroying terrorist safe-havens, networks, infrastructure and funding channels.
They also underlined the need for every country to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks against other countries.
They also expressed interest in strengthening cooperation for the development and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan, including through implementation of various development projects.