India seeks to join Asia-Europe corridor
New Delhi: On the eve of Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit, India has proposed joining a transport corridor to connect Asia and Europe via Central Asia. Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said the Mirziyoyev’s visit assumed considerable significance as Uzbekistan will be a major transit point on this corridor.
Mirziyoyev will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. The foreign ministry said the two countries have elevated their relationship since 2011 to the level of “strategic partnership”, encompassing cooperation in a variety of areas. This may be enhanced further if India joins the International North-South Transport Corridor, a ship, rail and road route to move freight between India, Russia, Iran and Europe via Central Asia.
PM Modi has laid great emphasis on Central Asia by visiting
Uzbek capital Tashkent twice in the last three-and-ahalf years. “We are cooperating in many fields, including security cooperation and exchange. We have also formed a bilateral joint working group for counter-terrorism that has met several times. We have agreed to strengthen cooperation in defence and cyber security,” an official said.
Mirziyoyev will also visit Agra, one-time seat of the Mughal empire that originated from Samarkand in present-day Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is also expected to revive the Timurid Gardens, once an architectural expression of the Mughal empire, but which are now left only around the Taj Mahal. Many artisans who were part of the 20,000-strong work force that built the Taj Mahal were originally from Tashkent and Samarkand. Samarkand has been at the centre of world cultures for over two-and-ahalf millennia and was one of the most important sites on the Silk Route.