The US is trying to enable countries in Central Asia to have options in obtaining US military equipment rather than relying on military procurement from Russia, but the cost of US weapons will continue to be an issue, Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Joseph Votel said in a congressional testimony on Tuesday.
“We are trying to keep Central Asian countries away from doing military purchases from Russia, but high prices for American systems are challenging for Kazakhstan,” he said.
“Uzbekistan has expressed interest in diversifying their military equipment and has presented a list of American systems and equipment that they want to buy. This is a unique opportunity to off-ramp Uzbekistan from Russian defense equipment and deepen our relations,” General noted.
“We continue to strengthen military ties with Tajikistan. This is happening, despite the fact that Moscow is increasing its influence and expanding its military presence at a base near the capital of the country,” Joseph Votel said.