India is expected to pitch for inclusive Eurasian connectivity initiatives during foreign minister S Jaishankar‘s visit to Uzbekistan for the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting. India takes over SCO presidency in 2023 and has been pushing for optimum use of Chabahar Port, following operationalisation of INSTC as a parallel to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
INSTC operationalisation has been put on fast track through two routes and India hopes Chabahar would be part of it. India has been encouraging central Asian states, particularly Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, to utilise Chabahar Port as a connection to the Indian Ocean and beyond.
Iran is expected to be formally admitted as SCO member at this year’s summit in the historic city of Samarkand. Experts on the Eurasian region indicated that Iran’s entry will boost India’s connectivity forays in the resource rich Eurasia and Russia.
India became permanent member of SCO in 2017, and has deep interests in deepening its security-related cooperation and its regional anti-terrorism structure, which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence. Jaishankar’s participation is aimed at strengthening Delhi’s ties in the context of Taliban‘s takeover of Afghanistan. India had on Monday and Tuesday attended a conference hosted by Uzbekistan to discuss Afghanistan. Last month, New Delhi re-established diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a technical team.