The Republic of Uzbekistan has been pursuing “holistic” policies to enhance its regional connectivity for achieving desired goals of socio-economic prosperity, regional integration, poverty eradication, energy cooperation and last but not the least mass industrialization.
Thus, CPEC may hold the “key” of success in achieving regional connectivity.
Uzbekistan’s reconnect with South Asia through Pakistan offers the “shortest routes”. It has various “seaports” to benefit/connect Uzbekistan not only with South Asia and beyond.
Most recently, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Dr. Abdulaziz Kamilov paid a personal visit to Pakistan and met Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed matters of regional connectivity and further strengthening of activities of trade and commerce.
During the meeting, Pakistan Prime Minister Khan emphasized the importance of economic development and enhanced bilateral trade through enhanced regional connectivity and termed it as the “cornerstones” of economic growth and development for both the countries.
He underlined Pakistan’s resolve to forge closer ties with Central Asia, covering trade, investment, energy as well as people-to-people exchanges and the CPEC may provide a “launching pad” to Uzbekistan to move forward to secure its “strategic” interests of “commercial diplomacy” and “regional connectivity” through various seaports of Pakistan and proposed trans-regional railways project.
Both sides have now agreed to develop “alternative routes/corridors” in which CPEC may play a vital role in the future.
Uzbekistan is one of the important countries of One Belt & One Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC is the flagship project.
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi also held delegation level talks with the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, Dr. Abdulaziz Kamilov.
During the meeting, both sides expressed their firm resolve to boost high-level interactions to give impetus to the existing positive momentum in bilateral relations.
It was agreed to maximally utilize the existing institutional mechanisms by regularly convening sessions of Bilateral Political Consultations (BPCS) and Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC).
He also underscored the importance of closer agricultural cooperation between the two countries particularly in the cotton seed sector.
Uzbekistan is blessed with natural coloured cotton which may be utilized by initiating a joint venture in public-private partnership between the two sides.
CPEC Phase-II may carry agricultural development in the country so scope of agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and Uzbekistan may be further strengthened in the days to come.
In order to further deepen the trade ties, both sides also agreed to hold a business conference in Tashkent in July this year.
Among all the Central Asian Republics Uzbekistan remains the most stable state with well developed capital and social infrastructure.