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Rajnath in Tashkent for crucial meeting of defence ministers

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will begin his three-day visit to Uzbekistan on Tuesday – a clear effort to establish a special relationship with Tashkent, following New Delhi’s focus on rebooting ties with Central Asia and Eurasia. 

Singh will also attend the annual meeting of the Defence Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States in the Uzbek capital.

The Defence Minister’s trip takes place immediately after the meeting of the SCO Security Council Secretaries where Deputy National Security Advisor (NSA) Vikram Misri called for combating terrorism, terror financing, transnational organized crime, illicit drug trafficking and strengthening information security among the member countries of the organisation.

During the visit to Tashkent, Singh will also hold discussions with his Uzbekistan counterpart Lieutenant General Bakhodir Kurbanov.

“I will be holding a bilateral meeting with Uzbekistan’s Defence Minister, Lt. General Nizamovich, and also interact with the Indian community. Look forward to it,” the Defence Minister tweeted before leaving for Tashkent.

In addition, Singh will meet the Defence Ministers of some other member countries of SCO on the sidelines of this meeting, where bilateral issues and issues of mutual interest will be discussed. The dialogue is important in view of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine – and also the situation in Afghanistan.

During his stay in Tashkent, Singh will also pay homage at the monument of Late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and meet the Indian diaspora in Uzbekistan.

Singh’s visit is part of India’s outreach to Eurasia on the security template. It follows the recent visit to Moscow by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, where he held extensive talks with his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev.

Also Read: In Tashkent, India and Uzbekistan call for linking Chabahar port with regional network