Central, South Asian linkage

REALISING in time the shift in center of gravity of global economy from the west to the east, Uzbekistan is taking a lead role to connect Central Asia with South Asia. Broad parameters of this pragmatic plan were spelt out by Uzbekistan Ambassador to the United States and Canada Javlon Vakhdov in an interview with this daily. The Uzbek government has decided to construct rail-road link to Peshawar through Mazar-e Sharif and Kabul in Afghanistan to provide all weather access to Central Asian States to the sea ports of Gawadar and Karachi for trade with India, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries. It merits mention that Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar, in his recent speech at the United States Institute of Peace, had euologised his country’s friendly relations with Uzbekistan based on shared history, cultural and trade linkages. On the of day of Ambassador Vakhadov interview , Hanif Atmar was arriving to Tashkent with a delegation comprising representatives of Afghan Ministry of trade and Industry and Central Bank.
If the new economic block, conceived by Uzbekistan, does materialise then Pakistan will occupy a central position in the regional economic integration by virtue of its strategic geographical location, from which it has not hitherto derived a quid pro quo. In this regard the Uzbek Ambassador alluded to point of view of his country’s Foreign Minister Abdula Aziz Kamilov about the strategic importance of South Asia, acknowledging Pakistan’s key role in the boosting bilateral and multilateral trade. The assessment of Ambassador Vakhdov is correct that once Uzbekistan is connected to Peshawar and Gawadrr then thousands of people will be benefited from it in the shape of jobs, business, trade, education and transport facilities.
However, the long cherished dream of Central Asia-South Asia economic integration will come true only when peace returns to the war torn Afghanistan, for which countries of the region have pinned their hope on intra-Afghan dialogue to reach an inclusive political settlement acceptable to all political groups in Afghanistan. In the interview Ambassador Vakhdov alluded to a telling sentence of President Shavkat Mirzyoyev vision of Afghan Policy, which reveals that peace and security in Afghanistan is not only vital for the stability and prosperity of Central Asia but also for South Asia.