On Wednesday, 11th May 2022, the 15th round of India- Uzbekistan Foreign Office Consultations was held. The consultations were co-chaired by Shri Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West) and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, H.E. Mr Furkat Sidikov. Last time, the 14th round of FOC was held in the virtual format in November 2020. The central focus of the talk was greater economic cooperation between these two developing countries and steps to enhance connectivity between them.
During the fifteenth round of the consultations, both India, as well as Uzbekistan, underwent an all-inclusive review of the state and prospects of bilateral cooperation between the two nations. This included politics, defence, trade, economy, connectivity, development partnership, and humanitarian and cultural spheres.
Both sides have mutually agreed to bring out the full potential of the Chabahar port for trade between the two countries. The Chabahar port is located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran’s southern coast and is currently being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to promote trade ties. India, Iran and Uzbekistan held extensive talks in December 2021 on the joint use of the Chabahar Port while highlighting its significance in broadening inter-regional connectivity.
The two sides exchanged extensive views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including Afghanistan. Both the countries have agreed to focus on further enhancing cooperation in the UN, SCO and other multilateral fora. The Press Release from MEA reported that “the Indian side conveyed its full support for Uzbekistan’s ongoing chairmanship of SCO. Both sides highly assessed the holding of the 1st India-Central Asia Summit in January 2022 and agreed to expeditiously implement its outcomes along with other Central Asian countries.”
The 15th round of Foreign Office Consultations was held in the traditional spirit of bilateral companionship and understanding. The FOC was useful in taking stock of the implementation of decisions taken during high-level meetings held in the past 2 years, including the Virtual Summit in December 2020. Both sides have agreed to hold the next round of Foreign Office Consultations in Uzbekistan, on a date that will be mutually convenient for both India as well as Uzbekistan.
Shri Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West) later tweeted about the FOC, “Had productive Foreign Office Consultations with Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister Furkat Sidikov. Discussed bilateral, regional issues, including Afghanistan. Agreed on economic and connectivity priorities. Extended support to Uzbekistan’s #SCO Chairmanship.”