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Uzbekistan ink pacts on cooperation in security ties

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Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of Government (CHG) meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Uzbekistan have inked three pacts on cooperation in security ties after a meeting between the defence ministers of the two countries, the Indian defence ministry has said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is attending Council of Heads and Governments (CHGs) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as the special envoy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tashkent, held talks with his Uzbek counterpart Major General Bakhodir Nizamovich Kurbanov on Saturday.

"Following the meeting, the two sides concluded a memorandum of understanding 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," a statement by the defence ministry said on Sunday.

The MoU is a byproduct of interactions emanating from the MoU on Military Education signed between the two countries in October 2018, it said.

Two Institution-to-Institution MoUs on training and capacity building between institutes of higher military learning of the two countries were also signed, the statement said.

"The defence 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," it said.

In the coming days, the statement said, the two sides will continue discussions at the expert level to further enhance their exchanges in this sphere.

The two defence ministers also witnessed the first-ever exchange over a video-link between College of Defence Management in Secunderabad, Telangana, and Armed Forces Academy of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.

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 combatting extremism and terrorism, the statement said.

During the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction at the enhanced level of defence engagement between India and Uzbekistan.

"This enhanced level of engagement is reflected in the first ever meeting of the Joint Working Group 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," the statement said.

India has offered a concessional line of credit of USD 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 the sides has also witnessed a significant upswing.

The two 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, 2019, 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 ministry said.


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