Ms Huda Raza is studying International Relations at National Defense University, Islamabad.
The world has entered into a new era of connectivity and written cooperation. New horizons of multilateral relations among various countries have started to materialize very quickly. Regional connectivity is the dominant buzzword in today’s political-economic discourse. Many countries and many parts of the regions have started their own regional connectivity. The 2016 election of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Uzbekistan marked a new era in its history.
Since then, Uzbekistan has undergone a proactive transition to support regional and international harmony. Under the leadership of President Shavkat, it’s a country on the move and it’s called the “New Uzbekistan”. In the 21st century, the country has experienced a remarkable rise in its potential role both within and outside the Central Asian bloc, because of the exceptional struggles of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Uzbekistan, which connects Central Asia with South Asia through its economic growth programs, is now an important regional player. With more proactive and keen involvement in pursuing positive regional influence and organizing global peace activities, President Shavkat has enabled the country to turn into a key regional player.
In general, by fostering transport, socio-economic, communication, and energy projects in the neighboring countries, and strengthening regional trade connections, Uzbekistan seeks to promote transformation. Moreover, it is inclined to create a network between South Asia and Central Asia that will facilitate mutually beneficial interregional association.
The notion of Central-South Asian connectivity is a broad concept that encompasses many other paradigms, including economic growth, revival, and restoration of cultural, humanitarian, and political relations. This narrative builds friendship and trust and helps to increase the security of cross-border infrastructures and implement effective policies to combat common threats. Therefore, President Shavkat’s grand narrative focuses on the development projects related to tourism, trade, infrastructure development, and transport.
Under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan is focusing on enhancing regional cooperation and implementing infrastructure projects. One of these projects is the construction of a new electricity panel line that will supply Afghanistan with energy. Moreover, landlocked countries’ main objective is to diversify their transport networks in Central Asia.
Connecting South Asia and Central Asia is very important and now landlocked countries like Uzbekistan are becoming a part of the global supply chain and trade network. Thus, it is extending transportation and has started a new project, the Trans-Afghan railroad connecting Pakistan and Uzbekistan via Afghanistan. The construction of the railway, connecting South and Central Asia, is projected to boost the Afghan economy.
Furthermore, exports are crucial for all countries, regardless of their economic status. However, I believe that Asia is the future because even the West is depending on Asian goods due to its cheap labor, thanks to China, but when it comes to Uzbekistan, its labor is even cheaper than China. Uzbekistan is more lenient towards the Chinese and Russian bloc – and Pakistan too, since we have mutual interests in cooperation.
Thus, President Mirziyoyev’s visit to Pakistan (2-3 March 2022) has opened up a number of befitting opportunities for both nations’ commercial sectors to engage in reciprocal investments. Uzbekistan is all set to join CPEC, which means that Pakistan is Uzbekistan’s ticket to South Asia to boost its exports.
In Central Asia, though the initiative of the regional states to boost trade is good, the connection with South Asia is a bigger challenge for them. To reach Pakistan, they have to pass through Afghanistan which is currently unstable and both countries will require intelligence sharing to protect this connection.
President Shavkat’s New Uzbekistan
The Third Renaissance wave is in the middle of the new fundamental change that Uzbekistan has taken to play a full-fledged and proactive part in the economy’s uplifting, managing, and in stimulating regional peace and stability. Today, Uzbekistan has entered a new development era where people of different religions and ethnicities coexist in a community characterized by mutual respect, friendship, and solidarity.
Extensive reforms are being implemented throughout the country under President Mirziyoyev’s leadership, demonstrating the economic and political modernization that is reviving Uzbekistan into a modernized state. As a result, the New Uzbekistan reforms are noteworthy.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev opened foreign currency markets under the New Uzbekistan policies to attract investments. There have been significant enhancements in the media landscape. Moreover, in order to increase transparency and clarity, the visionary administration of New Uzbekistan is determined to carry out the constitutional laws pertaining to information dissemination, freedom of speech, and regional integration.
The structural modifications within the state would contribute to productive results beyond the country and the economic and trade openness would unite many regional countries with Uzbekistan. However, Uzbekistan’s Vision 2030 is reasonable, but sustainability is challenging. Exports bring economy and economy brings prosperity. That’s how prosperity is directly linked to international relations.
Uzbekistan’s Vision 2030
The country is rich when it comes to natural resources such as copper, cotton, gold, and gas, but the art of export is the real challenge when there are dozens of countries willing to export the same thing to boost their economy. This is the reason many countries avoid cold wars and proxies until there are better incentives because no one wants to disturb their economy.
Therefore, by 2030, the goal is to expand the country’s export potential by an additional $1.5 billion, provide agro-industrial businesses with raw materials and enhance their manufacture by 1.5 times. Boosting tourism is also part of this vision. Meanwhile, countries smaller than Uzbekistan are earning more through tourism.
Moreover, the vision is that by 2030, Uzbekistan should enter several states with an above-average per capita income. This will be accomplished primarily through stimulating the private sector, expanding its share, and intriguing foreign direct investments. Priority activities will concentrate on macroeconomic cohesion, diminishing the rate of inflation to 5%.
In a nutshell, the government of Uzbekistan has truly sensed the need to have a harmonious path so that economic and political prosperity goals with broader regional connectivity can be accomplished. Therefore, the Third Renaissance would turn out to be a landmark achievement for Uzbekistan to render its image as a more accountable nation.
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