Goa, 4 May 2023 (TDI): Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met with  Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Saidov on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Council of Foreign Ministers (SCO-CFM) meeting in India.

The two diplomats spoke on bilateral economic links, regional connectivity, and Afghanistan’s current circumstances.

They studied additional trade and investment prospects between the two nations. They also pledged to design strategies to strengthen business connections.

Pakistan and Uzbekistan participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) initiatives, which provide a framework for improving regional connectivity and economic cooperation.

Both foreign ministers have expressed enthusiasm for exploring and establishing a connectivity bridge link between Uzbekistan and Pakistan, providing a direct route for goods movement between the two countries.

The meeting also allowed the two officials to review the current situation in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Zardari emphasized the significance of regional collaboration in resolving the country’s security and stability concerns. Both ministers agreed that stability and peace in Afghanistan are critical for the region’s economy.

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Pakistan and Uzbekistan have long had cultural and economic relations. Both countries have identified various sectors for potential cooperation, including energy, agriculture, tourism, and education. They have expressed interest in investing in each other’s economies. Pakistan has declared a desire to import energy from Uzbekistan.

Both nations will enhance bilateral trade and transit with the upcoming opening of the Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway line. This rail project was signed in February 2021 by Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It has the potential to replace current land and sea routes and develop into a substantial economic corridor connecting Central Asia and South Asia.

The two nations have worked together in defense and economic connections. In 2019, Pakistan and Uzbekistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defense cooperation, establishing a structure for collaboration in military training, joint exercises, and information exchange.

During the conversation, both nations’ representatives pledged to discover new possibilities for alliance and work on regional issues. The foreign ministers also acknowledged that Pakistan and Uzbekistan share a vision for a prospering and stable region, and their association will help them achieve this objective.