Connect with us

EurAsian Region

Will Ayni Airbase in Tajikistan Become India’s 1st Overseas Military Base?

Published

on

Ayni Military Airbase (Gissar Air Base) in Tajikistan has been drawing Indian attention for over a decade. During the Cold War, Ayni Military Airbase served as a major military base of the USSR but remained inactive post their withdrawal from Afghanistan. Will Ayni Airbase in Tajikistan become India’s 1st Overseas Military Base?

India has been extremely interested to operate the Ayni Airbase, but Russia has literally blocked India’s ambitions in Tajikistan. EurAsian Times analyses the significance of Ayni Airbase to India and whether Russia would support India plans of setting up a military base in the former Soviet republic post the S-400 Deal.

Between 2002 and 2010, India spent approximately US$70 million to renovate the airbase and it was contemplated that India was keen on establishing a military base in Ayni to gain a strategic foothold in Central Asia and keep a check on China and Pakistan.

In January 2011, Tajikistan Foreign Minister, Hamrokhon Zarifi, officially launched negotiations with Russia to discuss possible deployment of Russian military at Ayni. Zarifi also ruled out the deployment of the Indian forces at Ayni.

India Keen On Ayni Military Airbase

Earlier, Delhi was contemplating to convert Ayni into its first military base abroad. But that was cut short partly because Russia did not permit outside interference in the former Soviet republic.

The Indian interest in Ayni airbase in Tajikistan was an outcome of the unexpected Kargil war. The Subramanian committee (which did a post-mortem of the Kargil war and proposed improvements) had pointed to an intelligence failure.

Tajikistan shares boundaries with China and Pakistan among others — it adjoins Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor, a narrow strip of land that shares a boundary with PoK and China. Tajikistan is just about 20 km from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir across the corridor and could provide India with a strategic edge and vital intelligence on Pakistani movements.

Why is Pakistan Concerned?

Pakistan is extremely apprehensive about Indian military deployments in Tajikistan. Islamabad sees Indian military presence in Tajikistan, Afghanistan or even Iran as an existential threat to Pakistan as India would be able to wage war from new and unfortified fronts.

India has been eying Ayni airbase for the same reason, especially as a foil for the Siachen Glacier, in-case Pakistani troops get to higher heights on the Saltoro Ridge and cannot be reached from the Indian side. Since 2005, despite the flagging of ties, India has sustained a contingent of the Indian Air Force and the Border Roads Organisation in Ayni. The contingent is now nearly 150 strong.

India, Tajikistan and Russia 

The scope and scale of India’s military detachment in Ayni is yet a subject of discussion between India, Russia and Tajikistan. Russia patrols the Tajik skies and has a motorised rifle division deployed in Ayni.

Since being admitted to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) this year and participating in war games with its members, Delhi is enthusiastic to revive the relationship with Tajikistan, now that Indo-Russian ties are its zenith due to massive defence deals between two nations.

Tajikistan is also a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), along with Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It may require a green signal from the CSTO to allow Indian military operations at Ayni. Moscow’s influence and clout will play a vital part in the decision making and India should expect some concessions from President Putin especially after Modi government brazenly defied the US in favour of old-pal Russia.

More News at EurAsian Times

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

FEATURED

Asia Pacific2 hours ago

China Threatens India With A Weather Modification System That Can Cover 1.5 Times The Area Of Entire India

India and China are engaged in a border dispute in Eastern Ladakh for the past seven months, and their troops...

Americas13 hours ago

Is The UAE Threatening To Opt For Russian Su-57 Jets Over US’ Stealth F-35 Warplanes??

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has warned that if the US refuses to supply it with F-35 and MQ-9 Reaper...

Featured14 hours ago

Indian, Russian Navy Hold PASSEX Exercise In The Eastern Indian Ocean Region

On the occasion of Navy Day, the Indian Navy is conducting a passage exercise (PASSEX) with the Russian Navy in...

Featured16 hours ago

After Backing Pakistan on Kashmir, Is Turkey’s Erdogan Hiring Syrian Mercenaries To Fight In The Valley?

For some time now, Turkey has been making attempts to grow its influence among the Muslims in South Asia in...

Featured17 hours ago

Assassination Of Top Iranian Scientist Will Complicate Relations Between The US & Iran: Joe Biden

Joe Biden, the next President of the United States said the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is likely...

Asia Pacific19 hours ago

From Rafales, Su-30 MKIs & Tejas, Why Next-Gen BrahMos Missile On Indian Air Force Jets Can Be A Game-Changer For India?

Amid the border row with China, the Indian armed forces successfully test-fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles in the past...

Asia Pacific20 hours ago

What Did Indira Gandhi Tell Naval Chief Before Indian Navy Bombed Karachi Port In 1971 War?

India marks 4 December as Navy Day to commemorate the Indian Navy’s attack on the Karachi port during the 1971...

Asia Pacific21 hours ago

Indian Navy To Counter Chinese Swarm Drones With New Guns That Can ‘Smash’ UAVs

Countries across the globe are looking for innovative ideas to check the menace of small drones or small unmanned aerial...

Featured22 hours ago

Eurofighter Typhoons ‘Soar & Roar’ In Qatar As Royal Air Force Conducts Drills With Emiri Air Force

The British Royal Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force, for the first time in history, have come together for...

Asia Pacific23 hours ago

Not India, Former ISI Chief Hints At UAE, Saudi Arabia Being The Biggest Threat To Pakistan

Durrani said that Pakistan is not threatened by India but is mired with its internal problems, including political instability and...

Advertisement
Advertisement