Defence Minister Rajnath Singh makes an official visit to Uzbekistan.
It is the first visit of an Indian Defence Minister in 15 years. India and Uzbekistan signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with Uzbekistan.
Both the countries agreed to cooperate on areas concerning military education and military medicine.
Defence Minister Singh held bilateral consultation with his Uzbek counterpart Major General Bakhodir Nizamovich Kurbanov. After which they jointly presided over India-Uzbekistan’s first joint exercise, “Dustlik 2019.”
Importantly, the bilateral exercise will take place from November 4th to 13th at Chirchiq Training Area near Tashkent. Above all the exercise focuses on counter-terrorism where “two countries share a common concern.”
In other words, the exchange of meetings between India and Uzbekistan gets frequent after the visit of former Defence Minister of Uzbekistan in 2018.
In addition to MoU on military medicine and education, two institution-to-institution MoUs on training and capacity building between institutes of higher military learning of the two countries also signed.
The joint statement of the Defence ministers of both the countries mentions “the MoU is a by-product of interactions emanating from the MoU on military education signed between the two countries in October 2018.”
Significantly, these resulted in “enhanced level of engagement.” It is clear from the number of engagements both the countries promised to have in 2019.
Firstly, both the countries will conduct meetings on Working Group on Defence Cooperation in February 2019. Secondly, India’s Defence Secretary makes an official visit to Uzbekistan in March 2019. After that Tashkent will hold the first defence-industry workshop in September 2019.
Apart from MoUs, the two ministers also witnessed the first-ever exchange over a video link. Interestingly, it was an interaction between the College of Defence Management in Secunderabad and Armed Forces Academy of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.