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12:57, 11 October 2018

India renews interest in military base in Tajikistan - report

AKIPRESS.COM - India has signalled a renewed interest in developing and sustaining a military base in Ayni in Tajikistan, The Print  reports.

President Ram Nath Kovind met an Indian Air Force contingent during his visit to the country this week (7-9 October), before returning to India Tuesday evening.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Ayni in 2015, but it was not publicised. A.K. Antony, the former defence minister, had also visited the base.

At one time, New Delhi was hoping to convert Ayni into its first military base abroad. But that was cut short partly because India began hedging military relations with Russia.

“Actually, Indian interest in Tajikistan and in Ayni was a consequence of the (1999) Kargil war,” said Phunchok Stobdan, Central Asia expert with the government think tank Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis.

“The Subramanian committee (which did a post-mortem of the Kargil war and proposed reforms) had pointed to an intelligence failure that led to the Kargil war.”

The Indian security establishment determined that assets of the Aviation Research Centre, a department of the Research and Analysis Wing, could have been put to better use.

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.

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