RAJESH MEHTA





REASONS WHY AND HOW UZBEKISTAN MATTERS FOR INDIA


1. The centrality of Uzbekistan stems from the very geography of its location. No other post -Soviet Central Asian country is privy to having borders with all other Central Asian countries and Afghanistan. Uzbekistan has borders with Kazakhstan in the north, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan in the south and Kyrgyzstan in the east and Tajikistan in the south east. Therefore, Uzbekistan is ideally located in the centre of Central Asia and it is vital as much for communication corridors as for commerce in the region to dry port or regional business hub that could connect Central and South Asia with Europe.

2. Economically, Uzbekistan is one of the most prosperous countries of Central Asia. In the past two decades of independence, it has opened up its economy to the developed world. It has set up new economic zones in two of its cities -Novoi and Angren- and invites investors to engage Uzbekistan in economic activities and industrialization. Indian businessmen can avail this opportunity available in Uzbekistan for investment in competition with other western companies.

3. Industrially, Uzbekistan has opened up and allowed two automobile giants to set up shops in the country. They are General Motors of the US that manufactures various brands of Chevrolet cars and the Korean firm Daweoo that produces small car Matiz and Nexia sedan. The Tatas of India can go and very well compete with these firms with their diesel models of Jeeps, trucks and cars.

4. Demographically, Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia. It has 30 plus million population.
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