Source : WION
|Uzbekistan’s deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Khodjaev (Photograph: Twitter )
Uzbekistan’s deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Khodjaev will visit India this week and will hold regular session of the Intergovernmental Commission meeting with Trade Minister Piyush Goyal. Both Minister Goyal and his counterpart Khodjaev are the co-chairs of the joint commission meet. Uzbekistan’s key focus will be on agriculture, innovation, connectivity, science and technology, textiles and leather.
The visit of Jamshid Khodjaev is the 2nd high level visit from Uzbekistan to India this month. Earlier this month Uzbekistan’s deputy foreign minister Furkat Sidikov visited India and held talks with minister of state in Ministry of external affairs Meenakshi Lekhi. Key focus of Sidikov’s visit was to brief the Indian side on the constitutional reforms announced in the country.
The reforms had led to backlash in Karakalpakstan region over fears of autonomy being taken away, a plan that has been shelved now. Earlier Uzbek DPM Sardor Umurzakov was expected to visit India and hold joint commission meet but he was shifted last week to become the Head of the Presidential Administration.
Both countries have set a bilateral trade target if USD 1 billion but lack of connectivity has been a key issue. Chabahar port is expected to bridge the gap between the 2 countries. Remember Uzbekistan, along with India and Iran have been part of trilateral working group for the joint use of the Chabahar port. The Shahid Behesti Terminal, Chabahar Port has handled shipments and trans-shipments from various countries including Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Ukraine, Oman, Romania, Bangladesh, Australia, Kuwait, Uzbekistan and UAE.
Indian company India Ports Global Limited through its subsidiary India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ), took over the operations of the Chabahar Port in December of 2018. Since then, port has handled 3.2 million tons of bulk and general cargo according to a 2021 data.
Bilateral trade between the 2 countries stands at about USD 442 million as per Uzbek statistics. India and Uzbekistan plan to set up a joint feasibility study for entering into negotiations for a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). This will see lot of visits from India to Uzbekistan as the country is the chair of the Shanghai cooperation organisation or SCO. This week External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar will be in the country for the SCO Foreign ministers meet, August will see visit of Indian Defence minister Rajnath Singh to country followed by the summit level meet in September where PM Modi will be present.