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Context: As part of a military-to-military exchange program between the Indian Army and Uzbekistan Army, the fourth edition of biennial training Exercise DUSTLIK (2023) will be conducted in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.
- The Indian contingent will be represented by the 14th Battalion, The GARHWAL RIFLES, part of Western Command in this bilateral exercise.
- The Uzbekistan Army will be represented by troops of the North Western Military District of Uzbekistan Army.
- This joint exercise is aimed at enhancing military capability to undertake multi-domain operations in a Sub Conventional scenario under United Nations Mandate.
- India and Uzbekistan have relations that go back in history.
- India was one of the first countries to recognize the state sovereignty of Uzbekistan after the latter’s independence.
- The protocol on establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Uzbekistan was signed in Tashkent on 18 March 1992.
- A Virtual Summit between PM and President Mirziyoyev was held in December 2020. Bilateral relations now encompass a wider canvas, including on political and strategic issues, defence and security, trade and investment, energy, agriculture, S&T, education and people-to-people ties.
- There are regular High Level visits/meetings, Regional Exchanges, Parliamentary Exchanges
Bilateral and multilateral Mechanisms
- National Coordination Committees
- Inter-Governmental Commission
- Foreign Office Consultations
- Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism
- India-Central Asia Business Council
- India- Central Asia Dialogue
Defence and Security Cooperation
- Raksha Mantri inaugurated the first-ever joint military exercise ‘Dustlik’ between India and Uzbekistan in 2019.
- India has also assisted in setting up an India Room at the Armed Forces Academy of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.
- India and Uzbekistan share common perspectives on a number of security issues, including on terrorism, trans-national organized crime, illegal trafficking and smuggling, etc.
Bilateral Trade and Investments
- Bilateral trade at about USD 442 million (as per Uzbek statistics) is well below potential.
- The major items of India’s exports are pharmaceutical products, mechanical equipment, vehicle parts, services, optical instruments and equipment.
- India’s import from Uzbekistan consist largely of fruit and vegetable products, services, fertilizers, juice products and extracts, and lubricants.
- India and Uzbekistan have signed a Joint Statement in September 2019 to set up a joint feasibility study for entering into negotiations for a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA).
- Bilateral Investment Treaty is under negotiation between both countries.
- In response to a request for LOC of USD 1 billion by the Uzbek Government, a Line of Credit Agreement for USD 200 million for construction of affordable housing and social infrastructure projects was signed between the State Investment Committee of Uzbekistan and the EXIM Bank in
- A Joint Centre for Information Technology was set up in 2006 and upgraded in 2014 with Indian assistance. An India-Uzbekistan Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) was inaugurated on 24 December 2018 in Tashkent. An Indian expert has been deputed at EDC for training and capacity building of Uzbek entrepreneurs.
- India has offered grant assistance for implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects to Uzbekistan.
Education and Culture
- Uzbekistan has been sending candidates under the ITEC programme since 1993.
- The Samarkand State University has set up an Indian Study Centre, which is headed at present by a senior professor from India.
- Indian films, actors and songs are extremely popular across the country. There is interest in reviving the tradition of co-production and organization of and participation in film festivals. There is a growing trend among Indian film producing houses to use Uzbekistan as a location to shoot their films.
- There are regular visits of cultural troupes from both sides.
Diaspora: There are about 1800 Indian nationals living in Uzbekistan. They are involved mostly in pharmaceutical and hospitality businesses; some are university and school teachers; and many serve as doctors in local hospitals and many work in the oil and gas sector.