Uzbekistan backs the development of Iran’s Chabahar port by India as the project will help drive trade and connectivity with the entire Central Asian region, Uzbek ambassador Farhod Arziev said on Wednesday.
Besides steps to boost cooperation in areas ranging from security and counter-terrorism to trade, Uzbekistan is also wooing Indian universities to establish campuses there, Arziev said in an interview.
Calling for the revival of trade links between India and Central Asia that dated back thousands of years, he said the Chabahar port will “only play a positive role for expanding trade and economic relations”.
“We see great practical value in the Chabahar project and, no doubt, with the full implementation of the Chabahar project, the scope and opportunities for India, Uzbekistan and Central Asia as a whole will be expanded,” he said.
Uzbekistan also backed India’s membership of the Ashgabat Agreement for a transport corridor to Oman as well as the North-South Corridor to boost connectivity options, he added.
Giving an overview of recent developments in Uzbekistan’s efforts to woo Indian firms and entities, Arziev said two Indian universities had set up campuses and departments in his country this year – Amity University in Tashkent and Sharda University in Andijan. “We will be seeing more and more Indian universities entering Uzbekistan.”
Uzbekistan also worked with Indian partners this year to establish an IT Park in Tashkent – the first such Indian project in Central Asia – and a free pharmaceutical zone in Andijan, he said. Several Indian firms had registered at the zone and begun constructing their production facilities.
India and Uzbekistan also have a “good history of working together” for peace and stability in Afghanistan, Arziev said.