Relations between the nations of Uzbekistan and India have centuries-old roots. These two countries are recognized cradles of ancient civilization. Zahir ud-Din Mohammad Babur and his descendants have left an indelible trace in the history of India. And the heritage of Baburids (Mughal dynasty) is an undoubted pride of the Indian nation.
Today relations between Uzbekistan and India are developing particularly efficiently in the spheres of trade, economy, science and technology, and culture. The total of 33 companies founded in cooperation with Indian businessmen, and 11 offices of Indian companies operates on the territory of Uzbekistan. Agreements on trade and economic cooperation, protection and stimulation of investment flow, avoidance of double taxation, and support of the regime most favourable for trade have been signed between the two countries.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Uzbekistan Skand Ranjan Tayal told UzA about the development of Uzbek-Indian relations.
- Centuries old relations between Uzbek and Indian nations were enriched by a new content following Uzbekistan’s independence. They are now developing steadily based on the principles of traditional friendship and mutual interest. Agreements reached during the meetings of the heads of two states provide the legal framework for this process.
This year, we have celebrated the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between independent Uzbekistan and India. Our countries share viewpoints on the issues of social and economic development, strengthening of peace and stability in the region and throughout the world. Such an agreement was largely the result of regular top-level meetings. The President of Uzbekistan, Mr. Karimov paid a state visit to India in April 2005. In April 2006, Prime Minister of India, Mr. Manmohan Singh came with an official visit to Uzbekistan. During these summits the parties determined new areas of cooperation and as a result the relations were taken to a new level.
Our cooperation has great prospects. I am convinced that the relations that exist between the countries now, the strengthening ties between state agencies, academic and business circles will continue to develop in the future.
- What are the priority areas of cooperation between our countries?
- At this time our countries are going into the phase of expansion of economic cooperation. Uzbekistan holds the leading position in the world in the production of cotton; it is rich in mineral and hydrocarbon resources. Indian companies are prepared to direct large investments into your economy. They are sure about its stability. An evidence of this is the US$81 million investment Indian Spentex Company has made in the light industry of Uzbekistan. Several other Indian textile companies have expressed their investment intentions.
Our country is also building partnership in the pharmaceutical industry. For instance, a number of Uzbek-Indian joint ventures are specialized in the production of drugs; examples are Gufic Avicenna Limited, Shreya Life Scientist Pharmaceutical. Apart from this, a large Indian pharmaceutical company, the Dr. Reddy’s Labouratories, has recently opened a trade office in Uzbekistan.
All the conditions have been created, particularly for the expansion of cooperation in the tanning industry. Uzbekistan processes about 2 million rawhides yearly. Kafolat Kenur Uzbek-Indian joint venture operates in this field.
A number of bilateral agreements were signed during the visit of the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh to Uzbekistan in April 2006. Among them, particular attention should be given to the memorandum on the development of gas fields signed between Gas Authority of India Ltd and the UzbekNefteGaz (Uzbek Oil and Gas) National Holding Company, and the memorandum on geological explorations of nonferrous metals signed between the Ministry of Fuel and Mining Industry of Indian and the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Geology and Mineral Resources. These industries are the priority areas of cooperation between the two countries at this point.
On 15 August of this year, India will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its independence. Over this period, it has accumulated extensive experience in the spheres of education and human resource development. Every year about 120 specialists from Uzbekistan are sent to Indian universities for training and internships within the frame of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme. These are the spheres of IT, water management, banking, hotel business, etc. I would like to note the opening of the IT Centre named after Jawaharlal Nehru at the Tashkent University of Information Technologies. We are glad about cooperation with the friendly Uzbek nations in all spheres.
We are currently working together with the State Committee for Demonopolisation, Support of Competition and Entrepreneurship of Uzbekistan on the project of the Uzbek-Indian Centre for Development of Enterprise in Tashkent. Young talented people will be taught the skills and techniques of entrepreneurship at the centre. They will be given an opportunity to set up their own business, start independent activity, and as a result create new jobs. This, in turn, should serve the economic development of Uzbekistan.
India views Uzbekistan as a state that plays an important role in maintaining stability and security in Central Asia. We are supporting partnership within the frame of international organizations.
We are the advocates of further development of investment cooperation in the agricultural sector, science, advanced technology, as well as development and implementation of mutually beneficial projects. In the future, we would like to cooperation in the development of new technology for the progressive fields of science, such as solar energy.
- What is your opinion about the reforms taking place in Uzbekistan?
- Following the independence all spheres of life in Uzbekistan observed cardinal changes. In the last few years, you nation directed by President Islam Karimov implemented large-scale, sequential reforms, and has achieved impressive results. Within a short period Uzbekistan has taken a reputable position in the world community.
Your country efficiently implements the principles of market economy and achieves high results in the liberalization of economy, development of new sectors of production, and increasing the value added. Uzbekistan strictly follows the development path it has selected. I believe that in the future, the farsighted and wise policy of the Uzbek leader will produce even more weighty results.
In conclusion I would like to express my sincere congratulations to the people of Uzbekistan on the occasion of the upcoming national holiday, Independence Day, and wish your country further prosperity.