Uzbekistan has hosted a high-level International Conference titled “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities” at Tashkent. The conference was an initiative of the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. It was attended by President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, Ministers from Central Asian, West Asian and South Asian countries, including Minister of External Affairs of India Dr. S. Jaishankar. Delegates from over 40 countries and about 30 international organizations, and heads of think tanks participated in the conference.
About the conference:
- Ashraf Ghani underlined the historical proximity of two regions and the importance of strengthening it on the basis of mutual trust and interests.
- President Mirziyoyev said the world has entered an era of global geopolitical transformations and that the ‘revival of mutual ties between Central and South Asia, where about two billion people live today, is becoming an ever more demanding and objective process’.
- The international conference was also addressed online by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He said connectivity is central to economic growth and sustainable development, leading to regional cooperation and friendly relations among near and far neighbours. He urged active and collective engagement in support of Afghanistan’s peace and security.
- Dr. Jaishankar said that for Central Asian countries, the Chabahar port in Iran provides a ‘secure, viable and unhindered access to the sea.
- The port has been proposed to be included in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). It may be added that an India-Uzbekistan-Iran-Afghanistan Quadrilateral Working Group has been formed on the joint use of Chabahar port.