India and Uzbekistan signed three Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in a meet between Defence Ministers of both the countries.
- This is the first time in 15 years that a Defence Minister from India visited Uzbekistan for a meet.
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh signed three MoUs with his Uzbekistan counterpart.
- The agreements are for cooperation between the two countries in military medicine and military education – two institution-to-institution MoUs on training and capacity building.
- The defence minister attended the first ever joint exercise between the two countries – Dustlik 2019.
- Also during the meet, Defence Ministered offered a concessional line of credit of $40 million to Uzbekistan for its procurement of goods and services from India.
For both India and Uzbekistan, terrorism is a common concern. Both countries need each other’s assistance more amid talks of the US’s pullout of its troops from Afghanistan. Since 2018, the cooperation between India and Uzbekistan is growing at the military level. Recently in February 2019, the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Defence Cooperation between the two countries took place. Now, the Defence Minister’s visit to Uzbekistan shows that the ties are improving.
Central Asia is a key region for India both economic and strategic terms. The cooperation with Uzbekistan is key for India as it is the biggest military power in the region and its tough stance against the Taliban which augurs well for India.