Uzbekistan gives in principle concurrence to joining INSTC, India hails decision
New Delhi [India], December 11 Uzbekistan has given his “in principle concurrence” to joining the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday.
Addressing a special briefing after India-Uzbekistan Virtual Summit, MEA’s Joint Secretary (Eurasia) Dr Adarsh Swaika said that there is physical connectivity on the INSTC route from the seaport of Bandar Abbas to Baku to Russia but there has been less use of INSTC.
Speaking on the connectivity of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, Swaika said India would welcome any initiative that would increase the connectivity between the two countries.
“Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country. We as a principle would welcome any initiative that would increase the connectivity between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan or with other central Asian countries. As far as INSTC is concerned, we had requested Uzbekistan earlier when President Shavkat Mirziyoyev came in 2018. Prime Minister Modi had made a request to him for joining the INSTC. Today President gave his in-principle concurrence to joining INSTC,” he said.
“This is a very good development. The whole issue of INSTC is under considerable debate in recent past while in principle there has been connectivity. There is physical connectivity on the INSTC route from the seaport of Bandar Abbas to Baku to Russia. There has been less use of INSTC. The efforts of all the stakeholders have been to increase the popularity of the route,” he added.
The agreement for International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) connectivity initiative was signed by India, Iran and Russia in September 2000 to facilitate the movement of goods between the three countries and adjoining countries of the CIS region and Central Asia.
The joint statement issued after the virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbekistan President Mirziyoyev said that the Indian side requested the Uzbek side to consider joining the International North-South Transport Corridor which would add to the overall improvement of connectivity in the larger Eurasian space.
Swaika said that Tashkent has proposed a trilateral meeting with Iran to promote connectivity through the Chabahar port.
The Indian side welcomed the Uzbek proposal to hold trilateral dialogue among India, Iran and Uzbekistan to promote connectivity through the Chabahar port.
During the summit, India and Uzbekistan signed nine agreement/ Memoranda of Understandings including on High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) and on an exchange of information on pre-arrival of goods moved across the state border.
Indian side confirmed the approval of USD 448 million of Line of Credit to be extended by it for four developmental projects in Uzbekistan in the fields of road construction, sewerage treatment and information technology.
“We were able to sign an agreement for $448 million in various sectors. Our defence and security cooperation has also been strengthened,” Swaika said.
The Indian side reiterated its commitment to further deepen the development partnership between India and Uzbekistan, including under the framework of India-Central Asia dialogue.
On terrorism, Swaika said that both leaders underlined the need for concerted effort to combat this menace.
“There is a complete meeting of minds on terrorism. Both countries have unequivocally condemned terrorism. Both leaders have also underlined the need for every country to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks against other countries,” he said.