In the period from November 26th and 30th, the Uzbekistan Ministry of Defense carried out massive military exercises across country. The Uzbekistan Armed Forces are one of the most capable among Central Asian states and play an important role in detering the spread of terrorism in the region.
On December 5th, the country’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that the drills pursued exclusively defensive goals. UrduPoint cited the Foreign Ministry which said that the Uzbek Embassy in the United States held a press briefing on the drills. During the briefing, Uzbek Ambassador to the United States Javlon Vakhabov said that the drills were carried out in line with the country’s commitments to the neighboring states and were not damaging their interests.
“It was especially pointed out that these drills had not demonstrated aggression but pursued peaceful and defensive goals,” the statement said.
Furthermore, the statement noted that the Uzbek army had been reformed within the last two years in order to become more modern and mobile.
“The basic principles of the Uzbek defense policy are non-participation in military alliances, non-deployment of foreign military bases and facilities on its territory, non-sending its troops abroad to take part in peacekeeping missions.”
The ministry concluded by saying that Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev had created a state committee on defense industry, which will allow Uzbekistan to produce weapons and equipment for its army in the near future.
On November 29th, the Uzbek Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Shavkat Mirziyoyev observed special tactical exercises of the units on high alert, at Chirchik training ground.
It also reiterated that this was the biggest drill in the history of Uzbekistan.
“Airborne, artillery, motor rifle, tank units, units of special operations forces, as well as the Military Air Force took part in the exercises at Chirchik training ground. Fighters and helicopters of the Military Air Force of the Ministry of Defense hit the bases and positions of the conditional enemy. Then a tank unit appeared at the site. It masterfully overcame a water obstacle, an escarpment and a track bridge – the obstacles used in tank biathlon, and reached the specified line.”
The President examined the military unit located near the ground, as well as its weapons and equipment. He also emphasized that the goal of the reforms in the military are aimed at strengthening the security of the country and ensuring the peaceful life of the people.
The statement also included an overview of a Security Council meeting under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which reviewed some of the progress made on the tasks made at a meeting on January 10th. During the meeting, it was agreed that the Uzbekistan military must adopt a new military doctrine by January 14th, 2018.
Work on the new doctrine took close to a year, beginning in January 2017 and its final version was approved by the Uzbek senate on December 20th of the same year.
“The document is based on the legislative acts of the republic and the norms of international law,” the Uzbekistani senate press office said in a statement. “It strengthens and develops Uzbekistan’s practise of an open foreign policy and the [country’s] emphasis on developing constructive relations with its immediate neighbours and ensures the transparency of the country’s defence policy.”
Uzbekistan’s military doctrine had not been changed since initially adopted in 1995. The document “ranked terrorism and extremism last among sources of danger and devoted far more attention to the region’s nuclear-free status”, Tashkent-based political analyst Valerii Khan was cited.
“Taking into account the specifics of our country’s geo-strategic situation, as well as the evolving military and political situation in the region, [we] reviewed the tasks and structures of units of the armed forces,” Mirziyoyev told parliament on December 22nd.
“[We] created a National Guard and are taking comprehensive measures to provide the military with new weapons and modern military technology,” he said.
One innovation to increase combat readiness was the provision of comprehensive and high-quality food to the soldiers.
“Special attention is being paid to providing comprehensive and high-quality food,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement December 28, 2017. “The dining halls in military bases and institutions have been equipped with the latest technologies.”
“Good nutrition contributes to the health and physical development of troops, increases the body’s tolerance for various burdens and exerts a significant positive impact on the combat readiness of troops,” the statement said.
Uzbekistan also signed a new Fighting Extremism Act, it passed through the lower chamber of parliament on June 12th, the measure was approved by the Senate on June 28th and the president signed it into law on July 30th. It is to take effect on November 1st.
According to Global Firepower’s rankings, Uzbekistan is ranked 39th out of 136 countries in terms of military power. In 2018, the country has 13,312,000 individuals fit-for-service, with 76,500 total military personnel. Out of them, 56,500 are active, and 20,000 are reserve personnel.
In terms of aircraft and land strength, the country ranks 51 and 40 respectively on the list. It has no naval strength, since it has no exit to sea.