Shri Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister of India paid a visit to Tashkent (Uzbekistan) with to attend the Defence Ministers Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which is to be held today on the 24th of August 2022. He stated that he “had an excellent meeting with the Defence Minister of Uzbekistan, Lt Gen. Bakhodir Kurbanov” on the eve of the SCO meeting. Both dignitaries had cordially received each other and had reviewed India’s defence ties with Uzbekistan. The cooperation between both the countries is based on a “solid foundation,” said Singh.
Talks and discussions on the Bilateral Issues and Defence cooperation is the prime agenda of the SCO Meeting. The Indian Defence Minister will also meet the Indian Community in Uzbekistan and pay homage to Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial who died mysteriously in Tashkent (during ceasefire between Indo-Pak War of 1965) Prior to the current event, The Minister of Home Affairs Nityanand Rai and the Interior Minister of Tajikistan Rahman Rahimzoda, along with “Pulat Bobojonov” the Interior Minister of Uzbekistan had discussed emboldening security cooperation, tackling terrorism and drug trafficking. Meetings between other SCO members and India will also be held.
India was one of the first nations that recognised Uzbekistan’s independence after the USSR dissolved in 1991. Uzbekistan, along with its fellow Central Asian Neighbours (Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan) along with Republic of India are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. (SCO) This group also includes the Russian Federation and the PRC (China). An important point to be noted here is that all the above-mentioned countries are very crucial and central to India’s Central Asian Policy” and are a part of India’s “extended neighbourhood”.
Defence ties between India and Uzbekistan received a boost since the visit of the Uzbek Defence Minister in India in 2018. India and Uzbekistan also conduct military exercises known as “Dustlik”. An MOU (Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Military Medicine has been signed between the two countries. Two more memorandums were signed in the sphere of higher military learning. The Deputy Secretary General of INTERPOL, James Stephen also met Nityanand Rai in Tashkent. Uzbek soldiers have been trained in the Counter Insurgency Warfare School in Mizoram.
On the 15th and 16th of September, 2022, an annual summit will be conducted in the city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan. An INTERPOL General Assembly is also being planned to be held in the month of October in 2022. The repair of the transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force is undertaken in Tashkent. Uzbekistan has large reserves of natural gas and oil which can cater to India’s energy requirements.