New Delhi: The Indian Army and the soldiers of Uzbekistan are participating in an ongoing joint military exercise scheduled at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand. The exercise aims to strengthen the bond between the two nations in all aspects, including military and bilateral relations. Defence cooperation between both countries has acquired a new level of intensity after the then Defence Minister of Uzbekistan Major General Abdusalam Azizov visited India in September 2018, and after the visit of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to Uzbekistan, later in November 2019.
About exercise: Dustlik 2023
The fourth edition of the joint military exercise ‘Dustlik’ between the armies of India and Uzbekistan kicked off on Monday, February 20, in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.
As part of a military-to-military exchange programme between both countries, the biennial training exercise will culminate on March 5 with a validation exercise.
Soldiers participating in the exercise
As many as 45 soldiers each from the Indian and Uzbekistan armies are participating in this exercise.
The exercise will promote a positive relationship between both armies as they share their war techniques and personal experiences.
The host nation is represented by a contingent comprised of troops from an Infantry Battalion from the Garhwal Rifles Regiment.
Aims and objective of the exercise
The 14-day long joint military exercise between the two nations would focus on joint counter-terrorist operations in the mountainous and semi-urban scenario under UN mandate. The drills will include field training exercises, lectures, combat discussions, and demonstrations. and culminate with a validation exercise.
Warriors of both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of tactical drills for the neutralisation of likely threats while learning to exploit new-generation equipment and technology for conducting joint operations. Due emphasis is being laid on increasing interoperability between forces.
The bonhomie, esprit-de-corps and goodwill generated during the exercise will go a long way in further strengthening the bonds between both armies by enabling understanding of each other’s organisation and methodology of conducting various operations.
First edition of Dustlik
The first edition of the exercise, called Dustlik, was held in Uzbekistan in November 2019, and since then both countries have conducted several military exercises focusing on counter-terrorism operations. India has also assisted in setting up an India Room at the Armed Forces Academy of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.
Both nations share a common security goal
Both nations share common perspectives on a number of security issues, including terrorism, illegal trafficking, transnational organised crime, and smuggling, among others. India aims to assist Uzbek security agencies through training and capacity building.
As part of the growing cooperation in the security sphere, both nations also inked an agreement on Security Cooperation, when the Minister of Internal Affairs of Uzbekistan Pulat Bobojonov paid a visit to India in November 2019.