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Rajnath Singh likely to face defence ministers of China & Pak at SCO meeting

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Defence minister Rajnath Singh is likely to come across his counterparts from Pakistan and China at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ministerial meeting at Uzbekistan on Wednesday but he will not engage either of the two on the sidelines, government sources said.

Singh is flying to Uzbekistan Tuesday to attend the SCO defence ministers meeting that would deliberate on terrorism and global security concerns given that Russia-Ukraine war is far from over and Afghanistan turmoil, said government sources. When asked if there is any chance of Singh meeting separately Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe and Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif outside the SCO conference, a ministry official said, “no way”.

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India has been constantly blaming China for the standoff at LAC in eastern Ladakh since May 2020, with external affairs minister S Jaishankar stated that the relations between two Asian tigers were passing through extremely difficult phase due to violation of border understanding by Beijing.

Apart from the three countries, ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan will also participate in the conference.

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Defence ministry sources, however, stated that Singh’s one-on-one meetings have been lined with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and defence minister Major General Bakhodir Nizamovich Kurbanov to take forward military cooperation. The minister is also expected to draw the attention of Central Asian country to the opportunities Atmanirbhar Bharat has thrown up in the defence sector besides discussing other security issues.

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This would be the defence minister’s second visit to Tashkent in three years. Singh during his previous visit in November of 2019 had signed a series of MOUs on training and capacity building between institutes of higher military learning of both the countries. India had also opened its purse for a concessional line of credit of $40 million for procurement of goods and services by Uzbekistan from India. In the same month, armies of the two countries had carried out joint exercise “Dustlik 2019” at Chirchiq Training Area near Tashkent.

Published on

August 23, 2022



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