Economic integration

Experts Appreciate SCO Uzbekistan Chair for Socio-Economic Integration


ISLAMABAD: Most recently, an international online conference entitled “Uzbekistan’s Chairmanship in the SCO: The Way Forward for Greater Development of Regional Connectivity” was organized between the Center for South Asia and International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad and ISRS under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Leading regional experts, diplomats, researchers, scholars, students and the media community of both countries rigorously participated in this prestigious international conference. Issues relating to Uzbekistan’s chairmanship of the SCO, its strategic importance, usefulness and scope as well as the chances of greater regional connectivity through an integrated transport system, prospects for socio-economic cooperation, peace and stability in Afghanistan, cross-regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism, drugs and trafficking were tabled and discussed. All the eminent speakers underscored the need to have a close connection between Pakistan and Uzbekistan to realize the outstanding dreams of greater regional connectivity through a cross-regional rail mega project and other innovative means.

The Uzbekistan Embassy in Islamabad under the leadership of H.E. Ambassador Aybek Arif Usmanov assisted the two think tanks in organizing the said conference at the Embassy. The event was moderated by Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan, Director of CSAIS.

ISRS Deputy Director Bobur Usmanov in his opening remarks called Uzbekistan’s SCO chairmanship a priority multilateral foreign policy platform for implementing a development-oriented political course interregional connectivity.

He supported the realization of the full potential of the SCO in the new conditions of its development, mainly by increasing practical cooperation in promising areas that meet the interests of all member countries”.

In addition, Usmanov stressed the need to develop Uzbek-Pakistani cooperation within the framework of the SCO, which is deeply connected with the issues of restoring and expanding ties between the regions of Central and South Asia.

During his opening address, CSAIS Chairman Syed Khalid Jaffery expressed his satisfaction with the growing ties between Uzbekistan and Pakistan based on mutual respect, trust, cooperation in various fields of the economy, trade and investment, joint ventures, regional connectivity, peace and stability in Afghanistan and cross-regional railway cooperation within various international platforms, including the SCO.

He stressed that the two states’ mutual interest in expanding the SCO’s cooperation program is indispensable for future cooperation. The Pakistani expert also expressed his belief that Uzbekistan’s current chairmanship of the SCO opens new opportunities for all members and partner countries of the Organization to consolidate efforts aimed at forming a common economic future.

Speaking positively about Uzbekistan’s practical initiatives within the framework of the SCO, SCAIS expert Shahid Hashmat highlighted the high productivity of Uzbekistan’s current chairmanship in the Organization.

In addition, he noted that the strengthening of cooperation between Uzbekistan and Pakistan could become a catalyst for further expansion of trade and economic exchanges in the Shanghai G8 area.

In this sense, he noted the need to put issues of restoring cross-regional connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia on the agenda of the SCO. “All SCO member states are interested in creating a reliable land transportation route capable of ensuring the continuous exchange of goods and services,” he said.

Akhtar Nawaz, Senior Board Member of SCAIS, stressed the importance of normalization of the situation in Afghanistan for the implementation of interregional projects. The expert pointed out that the Afghan issue should not be ignored by SCO member states.

In this regard, Akhtar Nawaz said that Tashkent and Islamabad act as reliable and confident partners to help overcome the humanitarian crisis and establish long-term stability on Afghan soil. “A peaceful Afghanistan will open a reliable path for broad and multifaceted cross-regional cooperation and serve as a link between the two parts of the SCO space,” the Pakistani expert added.

In his detailed presentation/speech, Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan, Director of SCAIS, pointed out that Afghanistan and Pakistan have great potential to connect Central Asian countries and South East Asia through the merger of Chinese BRI and CPEC.

In this context, the planned construction of the Trans-Afghan Corridor between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan will create unique opportunities to develop not only interregional trade and economic ties, but also ensure the rapid socio-economic growth of the States of the two neighboring regions. said Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan.

The Pakistani expert highlighted the huge investments of the Pakistani government in the development of the transport sector through the China Pakistan Economic Corridors (CPEC) program, the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program and other initiatives. Pakistan has applied Cluster Trading System (CTS), Turks Trading System (TTS) and finally, Transport Internationals Routier (TIR) ​​to form a dynamic and diverse transportation system between Uzbekistan.

He concluded that sea routes should be opened up for trade between SCO member states. Pakistan and Uzbekistan have already signed an agreement to boost bilateral trade through the ports of Karachi and Gwadar. A connectivity terminal will be built in the city of Tirmuz in Uzbekistan, which will link Pakistan with Central Asian countries, including Euroasain and European and maritime markets.

Shabir Ahmad Khan, director of the Center for Central Asian Studies at the University of Peshawar, pointed out that global trade is shifting towards the Asian continent and that there is significant economic development in the Asian space. ‘OCS and neighboring regions.