India-Uzbekistan holds vast potential to boost collaboration across various realms

India-Uzbekistan holds vast potential to boost collaboration across various realms


New Delhi: India and Uzbekistan possess vast potential and a shared interest in actively enhancing collaboration across political, trade, economic, cultural, and humanitarian realms.

Uzbekistan is establishing itself as the primary regional investment hub amidst crucial reforms and a dedicated shift towards a market-oriented economy, alluring foreign investments, including those from India.

Cultural and tourist exchanges have the potential to enhance not just the social and economic development of both nations, but also to fortify the financial foundations of India-Uzbekistan relations.

Moreover, cooperation in the transport and logistics sector plays a pivotal role in fostering collaboration between the two countries.

Of particular interest is Uzbekistan's exploration of utilizing the Chabahar port for exports, facilitated by Indian investment. Negotiations are underway to determine the operational details.

Currently, Uzbekistan employs a multi-modal transport system for exports, integrating land, rail, and sea routes. Transitioning to exports from Chabahar could potentially reduce costs, as Uzbekistan presently exports from Bandar Abbas, which is farther from India.

Uzbekistan, alongside other Central Asian nations, backs New Delhi's initiatives in developing Iran's Chabahar Port, slated to emerge as a crucial transit point for India's trade with Afghanistan and other Central Asian states.

Meanwhile, notable investments have been made by Indian companies in the fields of pharmaceuticals, amusement parks, automobile components, and the hospitality industry.

A Joint Centre for Information Technology was set up in 2006 and upgraded in 2014. An IT Park in Tashkent, established with Indian assistance, was inaugurated in July 2019.

Recently, the 3rd Tashkent International Investment Forum (TIIF) in Uzbekistan concluded on a successful note. With more than 2,500 participants hailing from 93 countries, the event, as reported by the Ministry of Investment, Industry, and Trade of Uzbekistan, served as a pivotal platform for global dialogue and the exchange of investment best practices.

A highlight of the forum was the unveiling of regional energy projects, including the construction of Kambarata HPP-1 and Yavan HPP, to potential foreign investors. Notably, the presence of the Prime Ministers of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan underscored the significance of these projects for the broader region.

The tangible outcome of TIIF was the signing of agreements amounting to USD 26.6 billion, indicative of Uzbekistan's robust investment appeal and the forum's triumph.

By contrast, in 2022, TIIF saw the signing of 167 documents totalling USD 11 billion, marking a substantial surge in investment interest towards the country.

India also has immense opportunity to bag bigger projects from these fora.

India and Uzbekistan had set up National Coordination Committees to oversee the implementation of mutually agreed projects and initiatives.

On May 2, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan joined the plenary session of the Third Tashkent International Investment Forum at the Congress Center in Tashkent.

Over 2,500 foreign guests from 93 countries attended the meeting. Vice President of Turkey Cevdet Yilmaz, Speaker of Singapore's Parliament Seah Kian Peng, Kyrgyzstan's Prime Minister Akylbek Japarov, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Odile Renaud-Basso, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Tatiana Molcean, OPEC Fund for International Development President Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, were also present.

Over the past three years, this international forum, initiated by President Mirziyoyev, has become a valuable platform for bolstering bilateral and multilateral investment cooperation, addressing critical issues, and fostering innovative ideas and strategies for their resolution.

In his opening remarks, the President welcomed the attendees, highlighting the growing esteem and demand for this forum as a testament to the significant interest in the ongoing reforms in Uzbekistan and the pursuit of mutually beneficial partnerships.

Over the recent years, the nation has drawn in upwards of USD 60 billion in foreign investments, with over USD 14 billion allocated to social and infrastructure endeavours from international financial institutions.

The enduringly robust ties between India and Uzbekistan have received an additional boost with the growing footprint of Indian industries and universities in the Central Asian nation.

Most of the companies are pharmaceutical majors including joint ventures. There are also factories for processing stones, marbles and mining.

Meanwhile, the value of bilateral trade between India and Uzbekistan has touched USD 700 million and is growing. The country is optimistic that it will touch USD 1 billion shortly.

Moreover, exports from India to Uzbekistan encompass a diverse range of goods, spanning pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, mechanical equipment, chemical products, textiles, and more.

Conversely, imports from Uzbekistan comprise foodstuffs, construction materials, chemical products, non-ferrous and ferrous metals, footwear, leather products, and other items.

A notable aspect involves Uzbekistan's manufacturing facility specializing in small machinery and components for IL 76 aircraft, which are exported to India.

(Chandan Kumar, PhD in Buddhist History, is a young scholar. He is working as an Assistant Professor, the Department of History, Satyawati College, University of Delhi. He has extensively researched and presented papers on Silk Routes, Ancient history, and Shared Buddhist Heritage at international conferences around the world.)
 

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