The Kazakh authorities have suggested to Uzbekistan the establishment of an “Asian Schengen” zone, as well as the creation of a universal visa for the Central Asian countries.
According to the proposal, the establishment of a common visa called the Silk Visa would enable foreigners to visit five countries of this region, which are:
The proposal has been brought up by the chairperson of Kazakhstan’s Senate Committee for International Relations, Defense and Security, Dariga Nazarbayeva. During a visit of a delegation of Uzbek MPs, which took place in Srayagash, in Kazakhstan, Nazarbayeva proposed the introduction of the Silk Visa for the nations of Central Asia.
Nazarbayeva, who is also the daughter of the Kazakh president, said that the Silk Visa would be the Asian vision of the European Schengen Visa.
“It is very important to develop tourism so that we could know well and trust each other. We noted that it is necessary to promote development of Kazakh and Uzbek tourism and boost tourist flow into the region,” she reportedly said during the meeting with Uzbek MPs.
After the meeting, the Chairman of the Committee for International Relations and Tourism of the Senate of the Uzbek Parliament, Alisher Kurmanov, also welcomed the proposal.
On the other hand, Tajikistan also showed their interest in the introduction of such a visa. The government is very likely to support it. Olim Salimzoda, Chairman of the Committee for International Affairs, Public Associations and Information of the lower chamber of the Tajik Parliament confirmed such claims. He said that the President of Tajikistan has recently spoken about a close integration of the Central Asian states, by eliminating artificial barriers to tourism, trade and services.
“So, no doubt, Tajikistan will support introduction of the Silk Visa between the Central Asian countries,” Salimzoda confirmed.
“Foreign tourists will be able to become familiarized with unique culture of the nations of the region, historical and cultural monuments, natural sites, while the countries of the region will be able to receive more revenues from tourism,” Olim Salimzoda added while commenting Nazarbayeva’s proposal.
Central Asia is home to more than 69 million people and stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west, to China in the east, and from Afghanistan in the south, to Russia in the north. The five countries were formerly part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The Silk visa takes the name after the Silk Road, which is an ancient network of trade route that connected the east and the west, because of the lucrative trade in silk carried out along its length, which expanded in the Central Asia as well. / Asia Plus