Azerbaijani President’s recent visit to Uzbekistan was an important one especially related to the rapidly changing regional and global political, strategic and economic dimensions. Both states signed a declaration on deepening the strategic partnership between the two especially related to the building comprehensive cooperation in all fields.
During the visit nearly 18 important documents were signed related to cooperation in industry, military and military related technical cooperation, and quarantine and plant protection, fighting against the illegal migration, development of the international road transport.
Leader of Uzbekistan also proposed to increase the volume of bilateral trade and opportunities for investment in diverse sectors in both countries. Both countries are establishing joint funds to finance the development projects which include machine building, textile, food, construction, wine-making, oil, gas petrochemicals and agro-based industries.
In fact Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan as leaders of Caucasus and Central Asia respectively have a greater role to play in the dimension of the regional cooperation and peace. Both countries have their own significant geographical positions that is making them important routes of connectivity.
Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan are playing their important role in making the diverse cooperation hence opening partnerships to other countries through transit trade, development of economy and communications networks.
Both Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have deep rooted diplomatic relations since 1995 when both states established their ties by opening embassies in each other’s capital. There are many diaspora living in each other’s countries. Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan consider each other important friends and partners in having close cooperation. Both states are members of important global, regional multilateral organizations. Both countries support each other at their regional and global standpoints. Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have strong bilateral ties with having deep historic, religious, cultural, political, diplomatic, economic and strategic ties.
The recent visit of the historic level has set new standards of cooperation where nearly 40 areas of cooperation has been expanded to bolster the interstate trade and economic ties including the strategic and defense ties. The industrial cooperation and effective use of the transport, transit and communications linkage may create opportunities for the region and beyond.
Here it is important to note that the states have created a joint fund where cooperation projects with the states will improve the efficiency through effective transportation system. Baku-Tiblisi-Kars railway mechanism is another potential through which the regional connectivity will increase. Through the cooperation in the road and other networks, there will be a greater chance for the overall building of regional connectivity.
This communications and connectivity potential will reach the goods and services from Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Asia and beyond. With growing connectivity brings trade and opportunities for business. There are other communications and network corridors, projects and initiatives are ongoing in the region. Through these diverse linkages, there is a greater chance of for both countries to avail the opportunity of the transit trade and cargo transportation will increase multifold.
As a result of the growing regional and global tensions, there is threat to energy and food security, this cooperation between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan will be an opportunity to transport goods from one side of Asia to another and across the globe.
It is important to note that recently both states has their bilateral trade volume increased. According to the statistics the trade in 2021 was USD 111.9 million. There has been rise of the trade with steady increase of nearly 16 percent over the years. This also reflects the sense of trust amongst the people from both sides and there is huge potential and benefit for the other regional countries as well.
The visit has also made fresh booster towards the cultural cooperation especially the visit of the President of Azerbaijan to Khiva and naming one of the street in Uzbekistan after the name of the national leader Heydar Aliyev. This memorial and historic advancement will pave the way in enhancing the friendly historic ties especially building on the common history and culture from both states.
The visit also reflects that both states are trusted partners and committed to deepening their diplomatic relationship driven by common heritage, lineage, religion, language and culture. It raises the prospects of cooperation and provides them a level playing field to strengthen their partnership in the region. It will be beneficial for thousands of overseas residents living in both states and contribute towards mutual development.
This recent visit of the President of Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan will inject a fresh impetus to the bilateral, regional, multilateral cooperation not only between the countries but also will increase its benefits for the region and across the globe.
Muhammad Asif Noor
Founder Centre for Central Asia and Eurasian Studies-Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies