India and Uzbekistan to Triple Trade Turnover
India and Uzbekistan recently announced their annual bilateral trade target of 1 billion USD—set to be achieved within two years. The strategy was accompanied by 17 signed agreements and memorandums of understanding that range from military education, combatting illicit drug trafficking, cooperation in outer space exploration, and more. Likely one of the most important agreements was for visa-free travel for those who hold diplomatic passports—which opens a new door for bilateral relations. This move has been a sign of goodwill not only to themselves, but their regional neighbors as well.
Following the announcement, India and Uzbekistan agreed to gather an expert group of citizens from both nations that would conduct joint feasibility studies and commence negotiations for India-Uzbekistan Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) by the end of 2018. The PTA would provide for the two countries to either eliminate or reduce duties on certain goods traded between the other. If the PTA is successful, it is likely they will hit the 1 billion USD goal by the deadline of 2020.
An Indian-Uzbekistan partnerships is pertinent for regional stability. It is common knowledge in Uzbekistan that India is not only one of its most strategic partners in Asia, but the world overall. With history that dates back centuries ago, the two nations have enjoyed healthy bilateral relations for quite some time.
The primary advantage of their continuous improvement of bilateral agreements is their mutually-beneficial trade relations. Because Uzbekistan is double land-locked, they must rely on their resource-rich markets—many of which are still untapped. By relying on Uzbekistan’s vast deposits of minerals and natural gas, India can diversify its supply sources.
India also took the leap to join the Ashgabat Agreement earlier this year. Joining Uzbekistan (along with Oman, Iran, and Turkmenistan), India is now able to join in the facilitation of seamless transition and transportation of goods throughout the trade routes in the Caspian Transport and Transit Corridor.
In an interview published on September 25, Ambassador on Special Assignments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Ilkhomjon Nematov spoke about the untapped opportunities and resources the two countries have.
“For the development of trade-economic and investment relations, as well as to increase trade-turnover between our countries, Uzbekistan is very keen in expanding cooperation with India in such areas as information technology, programming, automobile industry, metallurgy, pharmaceutics, chemical, light industry, banking system, etc.”
India’s Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu echoed these comments at the India-Uzbekistan Business Forum, describing the former Soviet country as one of the bridges between Asia and Europe that is going to be critical for India’s trade policy.