India-Central Asia Current Affairs - 2020

India-Central Asia Business Council launched in New Delhi

The Ministry of External Affairs along with FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) recently launched the India-Central Asia Business Council. They were joined by 5 countries namely Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic. The Council will act as a common platform for the businesses of Central Asia and India.

Highlights

According to the External Ministry trade between the countries stand at 2 billion USD. The Council discussed on making the Chabahar port commercially attractive. The Council will also aim at promoting trade and investment between India and the four countries. They will focus on oil and gas, renewable and non-renewable energy, life sciences, pharmaceutical, agro-food processing, IT, urban infrastructure, tourism and transport.

Background

The Council is the outcome of India and Central Asia Dialogue that was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan in 2019. The Dialogue and the Council formed are part of India’s Central Asia Policy. Under Central Asia Policy India aims to build strong political relations and will aim to strengthen security cooperation.

Dustlik 2019: India Uzbekistan joint Military Exercise

India will conduct its first ever military exercise with Uzbekistan in a 10-day session on counter terrorism tactics. The exercise will be held at Chirchiq Training Area, Uzbekistan between November 4 and November 13, 2019. The Defence Minister Shri Raj Nath Singh during his 3 day visit met the Indian contingent participating in the joint exercise.

Highlights of the Exercise

  • The aim of the exercise is to focus on counter-insurgency and counter terrorism operation in mountainous, rural and urban regions.
  • From India a 45-member contingent have been trained for firing heli-borne operations, mountain craft, combat conditioning, tactical operations and house-intervention drills under UN mandate. This contingent is participating in the exercise
  • As a part of the exercise, the Indian army will conduct training cordon and search operation, mobile vehicle check posts and room intervention.
  • The Uzbekistan army will conduct training on tactical drills and survival skills in deserts and mountains.
  • On the concluding day, both the countries will depict near-actual operations situations for a period of 24-hour.

Significance

The exercise will build inter-operability skills and confidence between the two armies and enable sharing of best practices between the two. As Uzbekistan is a key country in central Asia, India has been trying to reach out to Uzbekistan by means of various new areas of cooperation.