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India and Uzbekistan agree pilot trade shipment through Chabahar port

As part of ongoing negotiations, India and Uzbekistan have agreed to conduct a pilot container shipment from Tashkent to India, using a land-sea hybrid route via Iran’s Chabahar port. Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal met with Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade Jamshid Khodjaev to finalize the deal.

“India and Uzbekistan have agreed that this new prospect could open up the future possibilities of a Trans-Caspian Multimodal Transit Corridor between the Central Asian and South Asian regions,” said a port ministry document. , navigation and waterways. The cargo will reach Indian Port of Jawaharlal Nehru (JNPT) at Navi Mumbai.

The shipment is expected to be completed within the next 15 to 20 days, an official with knowledge of the matter said.

This will not only open up new business opportunities, but also enhance business viability between Central Asian and South Asian markets, Sonowal said after the meeting.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, talk of increasing trade through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) has gained momentum. The route, which relies on Iran’s Chabahar port as a key pillar, is India’s bid for faster and smoother trade with Russia, Europe and Central Asian economies.

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Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Khodjaev is visiting India to meet Trade Minister Piyush Goyal for an Intergovernmental Commission session, focusing on agriculture, textiles and leather, among others. Khodjaev also met with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar on Thursday.

The two countries aim to double their bilateral trade to more than $1 billion. However, connectivity has been an issue, which they hope to resolve through the Iranian port. In 2018, Chabahar Port was acquired by India Ports Global Ltd through its subsidiary India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ).

The port of Chabahar, once linked by all-weather highways on the INSTC road, is India’s chance to increase trade in Central Asia, which the Center says has an eightfold increase in potential from 678 million current dollars, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar is also visiting the Uzbek capital ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country in September.

The two governments are also exploring business opportunities in the field of traditional medicine. The Ministry of AYUSH will send a team of professionals to Uzbekistan to support the creation of a roadmap to rejuvenate and develop their traditional medicinal practices.