Moscow: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his counterparts from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan here Saturday and discussed ways to further boost bilateral defence cooperation with the key Central Asian countries.
Singh is in Moscow on a three-day visit to Russia to attend a crucial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) defence ministers. On Friday, he held talks with his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fenghe on ways to ease escalating border tension in eastern Ladakh.
“I had a wonderful meeting with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Defence, Major General Kurbanov Bakhodir Nizamovich in Moscow today. Defence Cooperation remains an important pillar of India- Uzbekistan bilateral relations,” Singh tweeted.
“Productive interaction with the Defence Minister of Kazakhstan, Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev. We discussed ways to add further momentum to India-Kazakhstan defence cooperation,” he tweeted separately.
“Had an extremely fruitful meeting with Defence Minister of Tajikistan, Colonel-General Sherali Mirzo in Moscow. Our talks included a wide spectrum of India-Tajikistan defence relations,” Singh wrote in another tweet.
The SCO comprises eight member states — India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
It is Singh’s second visit to Moscow since June. He had represented India at the Victory Day Parade in Moscow on June 24 that commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.
The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability and security of the region. India became a member of the SCO in 2017.