Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal addressed the plenary session of the International Conference on 'Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities' in Tashkent today.

In his address, Foreign Secretary Paudyal said the Central and South Asia regions were home to a quarter of the world's population and in order to realise the full potential of this, cooperation, connectivity through physical infrastructure as well as the soft aspects of linkages of trade and transit facilitation measures were important.

Highlighting the historical connection between South and Central Asia, Paudyal stated that the two regions were at the centre of early human civilisation interconnected by the vast and sophisticated network of trade and caravans that traversed through massive geographies facilitating not only the transfer of goods and merchandise but also the exchange of cultures and ideas.

Stating that for landlocked countries connectivity was the top priority for smooth and cost-effective linkage to the world market, Paudyal stressed the need to explore areas of cooperation to enhance inter-regional trade, improve physical connectivity and transit, market access, and flow of investment. He said COVID and climate change provided reason for the central and south Asian regions to work together.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 18 2021, of The Himalayan Times.