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Russia-Uzbekistan special forces exercise to end

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Russia-Uzbekistan special forces exercise to end

Screen Shot 2020 12 11 at 2 01 52 PM
Photo: Caspian Report

The three-day Russo-Uzbek special forces joint drills at Uzbekistan’s Termez training ground will end today.

Two hundred military and law enforcement personnel from both countries participated in the exercise. Force objectives included capturing the leader of a mock illegal armed formation and securing control of the formation-occupied town. The drill rehearsed operations combatting insurgent and terrorist groups in Central Asia. Strategically, the exercise’s primary objective is to increase military-to-military cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan lies in the middle of a heated geopolitical battle for influence in Central Asia among the US (with its security interests in Afghanistan), China (with its Central Asian portion of the infrastructure-driven Belt and Road Initiative), and Russia, which envisions a revitalised Soviet-based sphere of influence. With this exercise, Moscow is buttressing its growing military influence with Tashkent. Russia is using military exercises that involve modern equipment and professional military education to meet Uzbekistan’s defence reform needs.

Expect Russia to continue to promote bilateral military exercises to further increase this relationship. The US and China are likely to respond. Expect US-Uzbek joint exercises to increase and for China to seek ways to reinforce its economic clout with Tashkent by further pushing forward infrastructure projects.

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