With Farkhor Air Base, India became only the 4th country after the US, Russia and Germany to have a military base in Central Asia. India-Tajikistan relations are set to further prosper with the meeting of Tajik Foreign Minister – Sirodzhiddin Aslov and the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar, who met in the Tajik Capital, Dushanbe, today on 3rd May 2018.
The meeting was held within the framework of the participation of the head of the Indian Foreign Ministry at the International Conference “Counteraction to Terrorism and Violent Extremism“. Both India and Tajikistan discussed bilateral relations between Dushanbe and New Delhi in multiple fields. The ministers exchanged views on other international and regional issues, including on joint fight against terrorism and extremism.
India-Tajikistan Relations – A Brief
India-Tajikistan Relations flourished with India’s massive military support to the anti-Taliban, Afghan Northern Alliance soldiers (ANA) in collaboration with Tajikistan, Russia and Iran. In 2002, India constructed a hospital at the Farkhor Air Base, which is located 60 km from the Afghan border, to treat the injured ANA soldiers.
After the US rejected Tajikistan’s proposal to use the Farkhor Air Base, the Indian government commenced negotiations with Tajikistan to establish India’s international presence at the Farkhor Air Base. Once the agreement was signed, India began restoring the Farkhor Air Base and stationed Indian Air Force fighter jets, a move which was vehemently objected by Pakistan due to security concerns.
India, in return, promised to support in Tajikistan’s defence by providing training to the Tajikistan Air Force. The Farkhor Air Base became fully operational in 2006, and 12 MiG-29 fighters and trainer aircraft were stationed there.