Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 9
By Ali Mustafayev – Trend:
Uzbekistan, one the richest Central Asian countries, has recently began to expand its interaction with its regional neighbors- Iran and Turkey.
Uzbekistan signed package of agreements with both of them in a wide range of areas, including trade, agriculture and transport. The historic milestone was visit of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Turkey, following which the sides signed trade agreements worth more than $3.5 billion.
"The improvement in relations fueled partly by changes in Uzbekistan’s policies, China’s Belt and Road initiative, the inauguration of the Indian backed port of Chabahar in Iran, as well as transportation links in the Caucasus like Baku-Tbilisi-Kars rail line," political analyst, senior fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University James M. Dorsey told Trend.
The Chabahar sea port will serve as a new trade link between Iran and its Central Asian partners, according to expert.
As for the ties with Turkey, Dorsey stressed that the Baku – Tbilisi – Kars rail road will allow Uzbekistan, as well as other Central Asian countries to take advantage of new economic opportunities, including short and cheaper way of goods transportation to Turkey and further.
"It will allow them to figure more prominently in the various infrastructure and transport schemes given the centrality of Central Asia in Eurasia. The trick will be to ensure that pursuing economic growth and development does not involve falling into debt traps and/or losing control of key assets," said Dorsey.