India, Uzbekistan sign three defence agreements

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh signing an MoU after the bilateral meeting with Defence Minister of Uzbekistan Maj Gen Bakhodir Nizamovich Kurbanov in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on November 2.

New Delhi (NVI): India and Uzbekistan signed three agreements including cooperation in the field of military medicine between the armed forces of the two countries.

Besides, two Institution-to-Institution agreements on training and capacity building between institutes of higher military learning of the two countries were also signed on November 2  after the meeting of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with his Uzbek counterpart Major General Bakhodir Nizamovich Kurbanov in Tashkent, an official statement said.

Besides, both the Defence Ministers jointly presided over the “Curtain Raiser” of the first-ever India-Uzbekistan Joint Exercise “Dustlik 2019”.

The exercise will be conducted from November 4-13 at Chirchiq Training Area near Tashkent and the focus will be on counter-terrorism, an area in which the two countries share a common concern.

Both the Defence Ministers also 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.

This would be based on higher level of mutual trust and respect between the two countries and on their shared views and approaches on a range of regional and international issues, including promoting regional stability and security and combating extremism and terrorism.

During the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction at the enhanced level of defence engagement between India and Uzbekistan since the visit of the then Defence Minister of Uzbekistan 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 40 million US Dollar 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 has also witnessed a significant upswing.

The two Defence 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.

Rajnath Singh held bilateral consultations with Major General Kurbanov during his visit to Tashkent in Uzbekistan. This was the first visit by an Indian Defence Minister to the country in about 15 years.