Event ReportsPublished on Dec 13, 2019
Interaction with Mr. Farhod Arziev (Ambassador of Uzbekistan to India)

An interaction with the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to India, Mr. Farhod Arziev was held at ORF on December 3, 2019. The wide-ranging talk focused on domestic developments in Uzbekistan as well as regional and foreign policy issues.

The ambassador initiated his talk with giving a background about the developmental path Uzbekistan has undertaken. He pointed out that the steps being undertaken have led to emergence of new potential in the country. This was followed by a discussion about the deepening relationship between Uzbekistan and its neighbours. Mr. Arziev noted that efforts in this direction have led to an atmosphere of cooperation, mutual understanding and friendship in the region. Creating more and more avenues for furthering cooperation would a key focus of the future, he said.

Highlighting the rich cultural and historical heritage of Central Asia, the ambassador said that the region had always served as a unique bridge connecting different regions of the world. Establishment of visa free regime for cross border travels, impetus to trade and economic relations have furthered regional trade linkages in recent years. The areas of education, cultural interaction and humanitarian cooperation can be seen as potential areas for further cooperation.

In order to carry forward regional coordination among Central Asian countries, the Uzbek leadership has proposed a meeting of Central Asian investment forum and a first ever meeting of the Central Asian countries at the Chamber of Commerce. Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev has also focused on developing regional connectivity through the establishment of the Council for Transport and Communication, Mr. Arziev said. As part of the new national development strategy, the Uzbek government is also looking to deepen relations with its neighbours as a top foreign policy priority.

The significance of deepening relations among Central Asian countries was discussed, which is expected to contribute towards enhancing the position of the region at the international level. The importance of the supporting social and economic development of Afghanistan while furthering the peace process was also highlighted.

On the development of India-Central Asia ties, the ambassador spoke of about the establishment of India-Central Asia Dialogue. Its first meeting was held in 2019 and it has since contributed to deepening relations between the two sides in political, economic and cultural fields. As India and Uzbekistan continue to improve their ties, the first joint military exercises was held in November 2019, which followed the visit of Indian defence minister to the Central Asian country – a first in fifteen years.

Looking at domestic developments in Uzbekistan, Mr. Arziev spoke about the upcoming elections to the lower house of Uzbek parliament. He said the focus will be on economic development, ensuring rule of law, transparency, strengthening democratic principles, improving accountability of government bodies and fighting against corruption. The progress of ongoing economic reforms to promote business and entrepreneurship was also discussed.

Former Indian ambassador to Uzbekistan, Skand Tayal, chaired the event. In his remarks, he spoke of the importance of Uzbekistan as the core of historical and cultural civilization of Central Asia. He also noted the progress the country has made in the post-Soviet period and discussed the reform measures taken under the presidency of Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

This report was prepared by Debarati Mukherjee, Research Intern at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

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