New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who was on a three-day visit to Uzbekistan from November 1 held bilateral consultations with his counterpart Major General Bakhodir Nizamovich Kurbanov in Tashkent.
During the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction at the enhanced level of defence engagement between the two countries since the visit of the then Ujbekistan Defence Minister to India in September 2018. This enhanced level of engagement is reflected in the first ever meeting of the JWG on Defence Cooperation in February 2019, visit of Defence Secretary of India in March 2019 and the first-ever Defence-Industry Workshop organised in Tashkent in September 2019.
India has offered a concessional line of credit of US$ 40 million for procurement of goods and services by Uzbekistan from India. The direct exchanges related to training, capacity building and education between the Armed Forces on both sides which has also witnessed a significant upswing.
Both the ministers agreed that the two sides would continue to work together to further raise their level of engagement in the defence sphere in keeping with strategic partnership between India and Uzbekistan.
Following the meeting, the two sides concluded an MoU on cooperation in the field of Military Medicine between the Armed Forces of the two countries. In the coming days, the sides will continue discussions at the expert level to further enhance their exchanges in this sphere. Two Institution-to-Institution MoUs on training and capacity building between institutes of higher military learning of the two countries were also signed. The MoU is a byproduct of interactions emanating from the MoU on Military Education signed between the two countries in October 2018.
The two ministers also witnessed the first-ever exchange over a video-link between College of Defence Management in Secunderabad and Armed Forces Academy of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.
They jointly presided over the “Curtain Raiser” of the first-ever India-Uzbekistan Joint Exercise “Dustlik 2019” on November 3 The fortnight long exercise will be conducted from November 4 at Chirchiq Training Area near Tashkent and will be focused on counter-terrorism, an area in which the two countries share a common concern.
In the exercise, an Indian Army contingent will train along with Uzbekistan Army. The exercise will enable sharing of best practices and experiences between the Armed Forces of the two countries and would lead to greater operational effectiveness.
The Defence Minister invited Maj Gen Kurbanov to visit India to continue this high-level political military dialogue between India and Uzbekistan.