After visits to Russia and Iran, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s efforts at touching base with old northern alliance partners will take him to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan this week. Jaishankar will represent India at the South-Central Asia connectivity meet on July 15-16. At the Tashkent meet, India will pitch for landlocked Central Asia’s connectivity with the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) via Iran, Chabahar port and international North–South transport corridor where New Delhi remains invested for years.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks earlier this year with his Uzbek counterpart, Abdulaziz Kamilov on Feb 25 and discussed bilateral relations, including in defence, connectivity and trade. During the talks, both the sides also exchanged views on the Afghanistan situation.
Uzbekistan is eyeing to connect with India via the Chabahar port and is part of a trilateral with Iran and India. It wants to push a smoother multimodal connectivity links between South Asia and Central Asia.
Leaders from India, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, China, the US, and the EU will also be participating in the summit. Jaishankar is also scheduled to attend the SCO foreign ministers meet at Dushanbe later this week.