India and Uzbekistan agree to use Chabahar Port to its full potential for trade

India and Uzbekistan on Wednesday agreed to exploit the full potential of the port of Chabahar for trade between the two countries as they held in-depth talks focused on closer bilateral economic ties.

The two sides also agreed to take steps to improve connectivity to boost trade during the 15th round of India-Uzbekistan foreign ministry consultations, held in Delhi.

“During the consultations, both sides conducted a comprehensive review of the status and prospects of bilateral cooperation, including political, security-related, trade-economic, connectivity, development partnership, humanitarian and cultural areas,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) said.

The talks particularly focused on greater economic cooperation and steps to improve connectivity between India and Uzbekistan.

“Both sides agreed to exploit the full potential of the Port of Chabahar for trade between the two countries,” the statement said.

Located in Sistan-Balochistan province on Iran’s energy-rich southern coast, the port of Chabahar is being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to strengthen trade ties.

In a significant move, India, Iran and Uzbekistan held in-depth talks in December on sharing the Chabahar Port, while underscoring its importance in enhancing regional connectivity.

At the Foreign Ministry Consultations between India and Uzbekistan (FoC), the MEA said the two sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest, including Afghanistan.

They agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and other multilateral fora.

“The Indian side has expressed its full support for the continued Uzbekistan presidency of the SCO. Both sides highly appreciated the holding of the 1st India-Central Asia Summit in January and agreed to swiftly implement its outcomes together with other Central Asian countries,” the MEA said.

The consultations were co-chaired by Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West) in the MEA, and Furkat Sidikov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan. The last FoC round took place in November 2020 in virtual format.

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