Ambassador Of The Republic Of Kyrgyzstan H.E. Erik Beishembiev- Exclusive Interview
“The Asian Telegraph Team conducted an exclusive Interview of Ambassador Of The Republic Of Kyrgyzstan H.E. Erik Beishembiev”
Excellency gave an inclusive appraisal of the historic nexus, current dynamics, and foreseeable prospects of cooperation between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. He also shared views on regional geopolitical and security dynamics.
- Excellency, how is your experience in Pakistan?
First, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Asian Telegraph Team for arranging this exclusive session. Well, it has been an amazing experience in a state that shares deep-rooted historical nexus and harmonious ties.
- Excellency, enlighten us about the deep-rooted socio-cultural and historical connectivity of the Kyrgyz Republic with Pakistan?
Although Pakistan was among the first countries to recognize the Kyrgyz Republic after its independence from USSR in 1991 the relationship dates back to centuries, to the time of the Mughal Empire. The great king His Majesty Zaheer-ud-Din Babur hailed from the Ferghana valley, which is stretched across present-day Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, and the remnants of his rule such as Babur’s mosque, which is still well-preserved in the Osh city of Kyrgyzstan and is under the protection of UNESCO. Both nations have a shared perception and stance towards many global and regional issues and are currently cooperating in the economy, energy, education, tourism, and several other domains.
- What is the status of the Kyrgyz-Pakistan Commission?
The inter-governmental Kyrgyz-Pakistan Commission was established in 1994 but to harness its potential for improvement of trade and investment, there is a need to reinvigorate this commission.
- Ambassador, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan are signatories to Bilateral Treaty Agreement, how far have both states gone to preserve the sanctity of this agreement?
The Kyrgyz Republic and Pakistan have close friendly relations since the independence of the former, and in the first few years of establishing diplomatic relations, both nations signed the Bilateral Treaty Agreement (BTI) for the promotion and expansion of economic ties and ever since more than 30 MoU’s are signed between both nations. Both, Kyrgyz Republic and Pakistan are endowed with huge reservoirs of natural resources and highly skilled human resources and there are many areas where both can collaborate.
- How do you look up to the trade between both the states?
Both countries are producing several products, which could be of great value in each other’s market and compete with products of other countries in terms of affordability and quality. In 2019, the leaders of both the nations, Imran Khan and Soronbay Jeenbekov agreed to bolster their trade on the sidelines of SCO.
- Excellency, how do both the states benefit each other’s economy? Comment in terms of imports and exports.
In terms of exports, Kyrgyzstan is recognized for organic fruits and vegetables, meat, honey, dairy products, gold, coal, etc. whereas, Pakistan’s major export commodities to Kyrgyzstan are cotton, textile, iron, steel, tea, coffee, pharmaceuticals, and machinery.
- Excellency, how has being a part of the Eurasian Economic Union benefited Kyrgyzstan and its trade with Pakistan?
Although, both countries have been successful in acquiring the EU GSP Plus status and Kyrgyzstan is an integral part of the Eurasian Economic Union. However, despite all these initiatives, the trade potential was not tapped to the optimum level yet, the trade volume of both nations is still about $4million, and Pakistan’s investment in Kyrgyzstan is $3.5billion.
- Excellency, responding to the international organizations, do you think both the states have similar foreign engagements?
Apart from the United Nations (UN) and Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), both nations are member states of other international and regional organizations like the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
- Kyrgyzstan is an energy-rich state, how do you intend to extend your energy power to Pakistan?
Pakistan is an energy deficient country whereas, Kyrgyzstan is known for its surplus energy production, utilizing its rich water resources for hydropower production. In this regard, both the states can go a long way to assist each other, overcoming their shortcomings.
- Energy is another sector where the interests of both the states converge, how have both the states demonstrated this junction?
A manifestation of this convergence of interest is the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Programme (CASA)-1000 power project that will allow for the export of surplus hydroelectricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Most of the work is completed from their side and they are looking forward to other partners completing their side of work to start the project. This project is expected to complete by 2023 and it will produce 1300-megawatt hydel energy.
- Excellency, keeping under consideration the geographical contiguity, how can Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan extend their relations?
Pakistan can support Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked nation, by providing the shortest and most viable land route access to the Arabian Sea, Middle East and African markets. In this regard, both the states along with China and Kazakhstan have already signed Quadrilateral Traffic and Transit Agreement (QTTA) in 1995.
- Ambassador; Share with us; the significance of QTTA?
Quadrilateral Traffic and Transit Agreement (QTTA), is a 3700-kilometer long transit trade route, which will connect the landlocked Central Asian partners (Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan) with China and then to the Karachi and Gwadar ports of Pakistan under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The significance of QTTA is that it connects the Central Asian region to the hot waters by circumnavigating Afghanistan, a country suffering from insecurity due to the war on terror for the last two decades.
- Excellency; Educating youth is the biggest success a state could achieve, how has both the states addressed this cause?
The education sector is also playing its role in bolstering the bilateral relations of both nations. Such as the quality of higher education in Kyrgyzstan, thousands of Pakistani students are studying in the country, especially in the medical field. Similarly, both nations have joined hands in the field of research and as a result, the University of Central Asia and Pakistan (UCAP) has been founded in Islamabad.
- What is the status of the relation between the Kyrgyz Republic and Pakistan?
Other areas of cooperation apart from the discussed ones between both Asian countries are; tourism, medicine, food industry, and climate change, the embodiment of close ties between both nations is evident from the regular high-level exchange visits between both nations.
- How do you see the defense cooperation between both states?
Closer defense cooperation between both nations will further enrich the brotherly bond between both the states. Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic major general R.Duishembiev paid an official visit to Pakistan in March 2018 and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan General Nadeem Raza is expected to visit Kyrgyzstan in the future.
- Excellency, how according to Kyrgyzstan both the states work on people-to-people contact?
Initiating a direct flight between Bishkek and Islamabad will bolster the prospects of trade and enhance people-to-people contacts.
Excellency, thank you so much for your valuable time and for giving us a deep insight into the dynamics of relations between two states. Indeed, this intake will assist to further explore the avenues of cooperation between two countries that are embodied by the deep-rooted historical nexus.