India eyes ex- Soviet airbase in Tajikistan

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi is to ask Tajikistan for the lease of a former Soviet airbase that was refurbished by India in 2007.

Government sources advised M AIL T ODAY that use of the Ayni airbase for the Indian Air Force, tops the agenda for dialogue with Tajikistan President

with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon when the prime minister arrives on a state go to on July 12.

Tajikistan marks the final leg of Prime Minister Modis eight- day tour of the 5 Central Asian Republics and Russia.

The Ayni airbase close to Tajikistans capital Dushanbe has lengthy been key to increasing Indias strategic footprint in Central Asia. India refurbished the bottom in 2007 however couldn’t base fighters and helicopters there due to Russian strain.

“Getting a overseas airbase, notably in Central Asia is a big improvement. But in this case, two different nations, Tajikistan and Russia, need to agree,” former Air Chief Marshal PV Naik advised Mail Today.

The origins of the airbase lie in the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC- 814 to Kandahar. The Vajpayee authorities started talks for the lease of an airbase after it found it had no proximate entry to Afghanistan. Tajikistan shares a 1,four hundred- km land border with Afghanistan. In the mid-

Nineteen Nineties India arrange a subject hospital at one other Tajik airbase in Farkhor, over one hundred km south- east of the capital Dushanbe, from the place it supported the anti- Taliban Northern Alliance forces of Ahmad Shah Massoud.

In 2002, India and Tajikistan signed a bilateral defence settlement, one element of which was the restore of a disused Soviet airbase, Ayni, 10 km west of Dushanbe. The IAF deliberate to base a squadron of Mi- 17 transport helicopters there and in addition practice Tajik Air Force pilots. The Border Roads Organisation spent $ 70 million ( Rs 443 crore) to refurbish the airbase in 2007, lengthening its runway to 3.2 kilometres, and constructing hangars and an air visitors management tower. Resistance, nevertheless, got here from an sudden quarter: Russia, which considers Tajikistan inside its sphere of affect. In 2007, Russia pressurised the Tajik authorities to disclaim India entry to the airbase, and the plans went into chilly storage.

The use of the Ayni airbase The use of Ayni airbase for IAF tops the agenda for talks with Tajik President

acquired recent impetus from the Modi authorities. Last September, overseas minister Sushma Swaraj visited Tajikistan in the course of the 14th SCO summit and held talks with the Tajik President.

One of the gadgets on the agenda, in addition to cooperation on counterterrorism, was using the Ayni airbase.

Indian authorities officers say leasing the bottom might be problematic.

Besides Russia, considerations may be raised by Pakistan and China. The airbase is only a half- hour flying time away from the Tajik- China border.

Tajikistan has no land boundary with Pakistan, the 2 nations are separated by Afghanistans slender Wakhan Corridor, however the prospect of an Indian airbase in its rear has raised alarm in Pakistan. In current years, Pakistan has labored exhausting to dissuade Tajikistan from the airbase lease. In 2012, Pakistan provided to reactivate two different disused airbases and provided free coaching Full Text RSS Feed
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