Central Asia's biggest military power, Uzbekistan has offered India a unique proposal, giving its territory to set up a defence manufacturing unit which could allow Delhi to make strategic inroads in the resource-rich region, Indian Economic Times said. The proposal is still in its nascent stages even as India plans to export defence equipment to Uzbekistan, officials familiar with the issue indicated to ET.
If the Indian government decides to set up a defence manufacturing unit in Uzbekistan, it will be the first such venture abroad and will enable Delhi to gain a strategic foothold in Eurasia amid massive Chinese inroads. India, currently expanding as well as exploring defence exports to friendly partners in South Asia, SE Asia, West Asia and the Indian Ocean Region, has enhanced defence partnership with Tashkent in areas of exchange, training and military medicine. The two sides are keen to give further impetus to exchange and training of military personnel, Indian officials said.
The extensive use of Russian origin equipment by both India and Uzbekistan is contributing to the growing bilateral defence relations. MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar, currently on a four-day trip to Tashkent, met Uzbek Defence Minister and discussed the possibility of expanding defence partnership. The proposed visit by Uzbek President to India later this year will lead to the creation of strategic partnership.