In­dia seeks to join Asia-Europe cor­ri­dor

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - INDI - Iftikhar Gi­lani

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.

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