Uzbek-Indian Relations

by Nathan Hamm on 4/6/2006 · 2 comments

Jonathan P sent a story on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to Germany, which will involve a stop in Uzbekistan on the way home. It gives a good summary of a significant, but not often spoken of relationship.

Karimov, who was in New Delhi last April to sign a strategic partnership to combat terror, help stabilise Afghanistan and cooperate ‘in military and military-technical areas,’ had invited Dr Singh to visit his country.

At the time, both sides stressed the importance of the trans-Afghanistan Zaranj-Delaram road being built by India, which will connect landlocked Uzbekistan with Iran’s Chahbahar port.

In early March, a high-level Uzbek delegation led by Alisher Erkinovich Shaykhov, minister of foreign economic relations, investments and trade was in Delhi for the annual inter-governmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation.

The Indian team was led by Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh.

A subsequent statement said the Uzbek side offered to provide full cooperation for encouraging investment by Indian IT companies and to make Uzbekistan their base for further expansion in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and noted that Indo-Uzbekistan bilateral trade grew to Rs 220 crore (Rs 2.2 billion) during 2004-2005 compared to Rs 69.58 crore (Rs 695.8 million) in 2003-2004.

But once again, trade is just one of the issues likely to be on the agenda, although India is trying to become a major economic player in the resources rich Central Asian country.

Dr Singh will be the first leader of a significant power to visit the country since May 2005, when Karimov ordered a brutal crackdown on what the government described as a uprising by Muslim separatists in the province of Andijon.

Given the growing Western hostility towards his regime, President Karimov looked eastwards.

India has also been lobbying for a seat on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the regional alliance of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia hold observer status. The outfit, formed in Shanghai in June 2001, ostensibly aims at improving ties among the member States and jointly fight terror. It also formed a Council of Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure which met in Tashkent 29 March.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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