Uzbekistan welcomes more Indian investments

Vice-President Hamid Ansari has underlined the need for establishing a road and rail connectivity between India and Central Asian countries and said only such connectivity could bring India closer to Central Asia.

In an informal interaction with journalists on board the aircraft during his return to India after a four-day visit to Uzbekistan, Mr. Ansari said his visit was fruitful and every gesture of the host nation showed its warmth towards India.

The only handicap India and Uzbekistan had was the “mountains in between which are not easy to surmount,” but efforts were being made to overcome this problem. Asked to elaborate, the Vice-President said the mountain range turned out to be a political obstacle as surface access was difficult.

Mr. Ansari recalled the wish of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he looked forward to a day when he had breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Islamabad and dinner in Kabul. “Everyone understands it, but it is difficult to implement.”

If this connectivity was established there could be free movement between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries.

To a question on the minimal presence of Indian business establishments in Uzbekistan, he said governments could only create a conducive atmosphere and it was for the business houses to spread out.

Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov also stressed the need for inviting Indian investments into his country.

Hopefully with the rail network being built linking Uzbekistan with Afghanistan and then Iran, it could be easier for movement of goods from India.

Asked whether the situation after the proposed pull out of the U.S. forces from Afghanistan had figured in the bilateral talks, Mr. Ansari said “everyone is looking into the crystal ball now to guess what would happen or what would not.”

Mr. Ansari and the Indian delegation visited historic places in Samarkhand and Bukhara cities.

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