By Ayushi Agarwal
New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): Connectivity is a major issue that can be discussed with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's (SCO) members as India and Central Asia are not directly connected, said former Indian ambassador to Uzbekistan, S.R Tayal after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed that SCO member countries should grant rights to transit and improve connectivity.
The Prime Minister raised the issue of "transit rights" of food supplies between the neighbouring nations highlighting that it took many months for India to send supplies to Afghanistan via Pakistan while addressing the extended format of the 22nd Summit of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States (SCO-CoHS) in Uzbekistan's Samarkand.
"The major issue is the connectivity as we know that India and the Central Aisa are not connected directly because the land route has Afghanistan as well as Pakistan, and Pakistan does not allow India trucks transport to pass through its territory. So, how to circumvent that issue, India has been pushing the Chabahar Port in Iran and India's trade connectivity towards central Asia could be through this Chabahar port in Iran and directly or either through Afghanistan or directly through Central Asia. This, I think will be discussed with both Uzbekistan's President as well as with other leaders of SCO", said the former ambassador.
Highlighting the fact that Uzbekistan has taken a very proactive position in its relationship with Afghanistan, the former envoy said that it would be important to see how India harmonizes its position over Afghanistan.
"On bilateral as well as in the discussions in the SCO, Uzbekistan has taken a very proactive position on relationship with Afghanistan. Uzbekistan is also selling electricity in Afghanistan. So, how India harmonizes its position over Afghanistan with other members of SCO, that will be one major concern of India as well as for the members of SCO", Tayal added.
Calling India and Uzbekistan's relationship stronger, the former Ambassador said that both the countries have deep and personal relations and the visit will also strengthen the bilateral relations.
"India and Uzbekistan are very strong friends and Uzbekistan is the most important country in many ways. The president of Uzbekistan has very deep personal relations with Prime Minister Modi. He officially visited India in 2018 and after that, he also came to Gujarat, so there is a lot of personal chemistry between Prime Minister Modi and the Host President Shavkat Mirziyoyev," said Tayal.
"The visit will strengthen both the bilateral relations with Uzbekistan as well as our strong commitment to SCO it is also important that India will be taking over the chairmanship of SCO from Uzbekistan and after this month India will be the chairman for one year and the next SCO summit will be held next year in New Delhi, India", the former Ambassador added.
Earlier, Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev welcomed PM Modi to the Congress Centre in Samarkand for the 22nd SCO Summit. India has been working closely with Uzbekistan towards the success of their Chairship.
Besides PM Modi, the SCO Summit is being attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
This is the first in-person SCO Summit after the Covid pandemic hit the world. The last in-person SCO Heads of State Summit was held in Bishkek in June 2019. (ANI)
Transit Rights can be discussed with SCO members, says ex-Indian Envoy after PM Modi raises issue at SCO
Ayushi Agarwal | Updated: Sep 16, 2022 16:12 IST
By Ayushi Agarwal