Monday, October 3, 2011

Defense Minister Antony says hello to Tajikistan- sweet ties?

Neelam Mathews
Oct 3, 2011

Defense Minister AK Antony enroute to Moscow to co-chair the 11th India Russia Inter-Governmental Commission for Military and Technical Co-operation stopped at the Dushanbe Airport in Tajikistan today.

MoD says Tajik  Defense Minister Col General Sherali Khairyulleov “skipped attendance in Parliament  and drove down to the tarmac to accord a red carpet traditional welcome to Antony who was offered Bread and Honey as he alighted from the Special Indian Air Force Aircraft.

“The two ministers exchanged views on regional and global security situation and had working lunch together,” says MoD.

The bread and honey must have tasted real sweet for Antony, who has been known to woo Tajikstan, one of the five erstwhile Central Asian Republics closest to India and one that holds a special place in India’s foreign policy priorities.

 China’s emergence as the largest economy in Asia and its increasingly influential role in the region will lead other powers to look to it for support and cooperation in Central Asian affairs, including on Afghanistan. It is known that India was looking at its first air base in Central Asia at Farkhor Air Force Base Ayni, 15 km north-east of Dushanbe, at the cost of over Rs 80 crore under a trilateral defense agreement with Tajikistan and Russia. The air base was refurbished by India. Its runway was extended, perimeter fencing secured and aircraft hangars built.

The India-Tajikistan Defense Cooperation includes sharing of information and joint exercises. India has gifted military uniform for two brigades, aviation suits, computers, language training material, military jeeps and trucks and two Mi-8 helicopters along with spare parts and consumables, says a Russian publication. As a part of training, cadets Tajikistan have been receiving training at the National Defense Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla, since 1998.
                                                             Photos by- Sitanshu Kar

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