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Uzbekistan seeks India-Pakistan rapprochement underneath SCO

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NEW DELHI: India shall be invited to assist with a key rail hyperlink in Afghanistan, through the go to of Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to New Delhi early subsequent week, The Hindu reported on Thursday.

It additionally quoted an Uzbek presidential aide as eyeing an India-Pakistan rapprochement underneath the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The paper quoted a presidential aide as saying the proposed rail hyperlink of roughly 650km — connecting the Afghan cities of Mazaar-i-Sharif and Herat — which can later be prolonged to Kabul, is a serious undertaking agreed to by President Ashraf Ghani and President Mirziyoyev final yr, and most of the preliminary surveys for the undertaking have already been accomplished.

The Uzbek president will arrive in New Delhi on Sunday

“We help a higher presence of India in Central Asia, and hope for some advantages of that for Afghanistan. I hope that negotiations with PM Modi will open a brand new web page in our bilateral relations,” Particular Assistant for International Affairs, Ilhom Nematov, advised The Hindu throughout a go to to Delhi forward of the president’s go to starting on Sunday.

“If India could be concerned in [the railway line] building, we might welcome them due to India’s confirmed document and expertise, and due to its contribution to bringing peace to Afghanistan,” he added, saying that Uzbekistan had an curiosity in open commerce and connectivity routes “all the way in which to the Indian Ocean”.

The undertaking, for which Uzbekistan has already dedicated $500 million, may turn out to be one other main regional connectivity undertaking for India, after its building of the Zaranj-Delaram Freeway in Afghanistan and the Shahid Beheshti port in Iran’s Chabahar, The Hindu stated.

It stated India can be dedicated to constructing one other rail route, from Chabahar to Zahedan on the Iran-Afghan border, and President Mirziyoyev is eager to hitch the transit commerce settlement signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran.

The rail path to Herat, if prolonged to Kabul, would additionally hyperlink to India’s “air hall”, permitting commerce — particularly dry fruits and agricultural produce — to journey alongside the routes from India to Central Asia and again in a a lot shorter time.

Uzbekistan has held talks with Iran, the Asian Infrastructure Funding Financial institution (AIIB) and China, which is already working a rail route into Uzbekistan underneath the Belt and Highway Initiative, for a similar undertaking prior to now few months.

“Making a pitch for talks between India and Pakistan, Mr Nematov stated Uzbekistan’s function in regional safety is more likely to develop as it can take over as secretary common of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Jan 2019,” it stated.

Printed in , October 12th, 2018

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