New Delhi/Tashkent: Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has returned home after the successful completion of her four-day visit to the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Uzbekistan. Foreign Minister Swaraj said this visit has further strengthened India’s relations with these oil-rich countries. Moreover, she expressed satisfaction saying that the visit was positive and fruitful.
The Foreign Minister visited Uzbekistan in the last leg of her visit where she had discussions with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Cooperation and partnership in all sectors between India and Uzbekistan was the priority issue in the discussions. Ravish Kumar, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry informed that President Mirziyoyev will be visiting India this year. Foreign Minister Swaraj also visited the memorial of former Indian Prime Minster Lal Bahadur Shastri who had died in Tashkent in 1966.
The countries of Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Uzbekistan are among the countries which separated from the USSR. These Central Asian countries are rich in oil and mineral ores and all the major countries in the world are keen to establish cooperation with these countries. China is consistently making efforts to establish relations at all levels with these Central Asian countries. Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Uzbekistan are members of the Chinese sponsored ‘Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’.
The cooperation with these countries rich in natural resources is very important in the Indian context. These countries are tremendously important also from the military strategic point of view, as per the analysts. Hence, India is making efforts to develop relations with these Central Asian countries and is taking care that it does not fall behind in the race. At the same time, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Uzbekistan are looking at India as a huge market place and have responded positively to the Indian efforts for cooperation in trade and other matters.
But Pakistan has become a major obstacle in the Indian trade with these Central Asian countries and Pakistan’s adamant stand is hampering the development of the region. Therefore, India has developed the Chabahar port in Iran and has started freight movement to Afghanistan through this port. If India succeeds in opening the pathway to Afghanistan by eliminating Pakistan it will ease the trade with the Central Asian countries. Even earlier it has been observed that India is making systemic efforts in this direction.