Political Developments - May 2018

During his visit to Uzbekistan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed the Uzbek parliament and attended the Turkey-Uzbekistan Business Forum along with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The presidents signed deals worth US$3 billion as the two countries seek to boost economic, defense, political and cultural ties. A series of agreements on economy, trade and culture were signed. Turk Exim bank signed a US$250 million revolving credit agreement with National Bank of Uzbekistan for goods and services exports from Turkey to Uzbekistan. Ankara-Tashkent relations have been tense for decades. Former Uzbek President Islam Karimov had distanced his country from Turkey during his 27 years in office. Uzbekistan has become a new strategic partner for Turkey, ending decades of mistrust. Turkey’s influence in Central Asia has increased after Uzbekistan agreed to join the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States. Erdogan’s visit followed visit by Uzbek President to Ankara last September when the two countries established a strategic relationship. Erdogan’s visit will not only be politically and geostrategically significant for Turkey’s relations with Uzbekistan but also, in broad terms, with Central Asia.

Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin discussed bilateral cooperation with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon during his visit to Dushanbe. Both countries had decided during Rahmon’s visit to Astana in March to increase trade turnover to US$2 billion. Agreements were signed for delivery of 300 Hyundai County buses assembled in Kazakhstan, 500 freight cars, four shunting and main locomotives, 5,200 tonnes of rails, as well as 30,000 tonnes of valves produced by Arcelor Mittal Temirtau for construction of Rogun Dam.

During Turkmen President Grabanguly Berdimuhamedov's visit to Uzbekistan, energy was one of the main topics of discussion. Berdimuhamedov and Mirziyoyev discussed Uzbekistan’s participation in Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and joint work at offshore hydrocarbon fields in Turkmenistan’s sector of the Caspian Sea. Though Mirziyoyev expressed Uzbekistan’s interest in these projects, it is considered unlikely by Uzbekistan that either of these projects will move forward in the near future.

Kazakh President Nazarbayev has approved the law which allows U.S. to transport special equipment to Afghanistan through the Caspian ports. Cargo for U.S forces in Afghanistan will be supplied from Georgia and Azerbaijan via the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan. Thereafter it will be transported to Uzbekistan and Afghanistan by train.

 

May 30, 2018

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About the Author

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar

Former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia; President, Institute of Global Studies and Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar belongs to the Indian Foreign Service and has acquitted his responsibilities in the diplomatic service for 34 years. He was Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia and has worked in senior diplomatic positions in Indian Embassies/Missions in Washington DC, Brussels, Moscow, Geneva, Tehran, Dhaka and Bangkok and also at Headquarters in India. He negotiated for India in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and in negotiations for India-EU, India-ASEAN and India-Thailand Free Trade Agreements.

He contributed significantly to strengthening strategic ties and promoting cultural cooperation between India and USA, EU, Russia and other countries.Ambassador Sajjanhar worked as head of National Foundation for Communal Harmony to promote amity and understanding between different religions, faiths and beliefs. Ambassador Sajjanhar has been decorated by Governments of Kazakhstan and Latvia with their National Awards and by Universal Peace Federation with Title of ''Ambassador of Peace.'' Currently Ambassador Sajjanhar is President of Institute of Global Studies, New Delhi. He writes, travels and speaks extensively on issues relating to international relations, foreign policy and themes of contemporary relevance and significance. He appears widely on TV panel discussions. Ambassador Sajjanhar is interested in reading, music and travelling. His wife Madhu is an economist and an educationist. They have a son and a daughter both of who are accomplished singers. Their son passed out of Yale University and their daughter is pursuing her PhD at University of Minnesota.