India air base grounded in Tajikistan

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by LETHALFORCE, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LL01Df02.html


    BANGALORE - India's
    hopes of setting up its first air base abroad seem to have been grounded.

    The Tajik government has announced that Russia is the only country in the race for use of the Ayni air base. "We are in talks over the Ayni airfield only with Russia," Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi told a press conference in the capital, adding that "such talks are not being held with any other party".

    Zarifi's announcement brings to an end - at least for now - years of speculation over who will get to use the base.

    Located 15 kilometers west of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, the Ayni air base was used by the Soviets during the 1980s to support their military operations in Afghanistan. With their



    withdrawal from Afghanistan, Ayni was abandoned and with the disintegration of the Soviet Union it fell into disuse.

    Then in 2002, India entered into a defense agreement with Tajikistan under which it agreed to renovate the dilapidated air base. Renovation involved building new hangars, repairing and extending the runway, construction of an air traffic control tower and the base's perimeter fencing. India reportedly spent around US$70 million on Ayni's renovation.

    India's interest in Ayni went beyond renovation. It was keen to set up a base there, where early reports suggested Delhi was considering deploying MiG-29 fighters. A base at Ayni was seen to provide muscle to India's strategic ambitions in Central Asia.

    Tajikistan's geographic location prompted India's interest in an air base. The country shares borders with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. A narrow strip of land, the Wakhan Corridor separates it from Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and the Gilgit-Baltistan area. Gilgit-Baltistan, which was part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, was occupied by Pakistan in 1947 and remains under its control.

    India's relationship with Tajikistan deepened in the late 1990s, when their shared concern over the Taliban regime in Afghanistan brought them closer together. It was at Farkhor, near Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan, that India set up a hospital in the late 1990s where injured Northern Alliance fighters were treated, and channeled equipment to the Northern Alliance.

    The India and Tajikistan bilateral engagement has deepened since 2002, especially on counter-terrorism and defense co-operation. While the two sides have often spoken about the immense potential for economic cooperation, trade has been meager, and was valued at $22.11 million in 2007-08. Defense cooperation, in contrast has grown significantly. It was part of this expanding defense ties that India hoped to set up a base at Ayni.

    Given the disquiet its military presence in Tajikistan would trigger in China and Pakistan, India sought to keep its plans low-profile, even under wraps. Tajik and Indian officials repeatedly denied that an Indian base at Ayni was on the cards.

    Then by 2007-08, media reports drew attention to Russian unease over India using the air base. India's growing proximity to the Americans was reported to be behind Moscow's discomfort.

    Around this time, there was a noticeable downsizing of India's ambitions. Reports spoke of Indian plans to deploy only a squadron of Mi-17 V1 helicopters at Ayni. It was reported then that Russia, India and Tajikistan had agreed informally to share command and control of the Ayni base, holding it in rotation.

    The Tajik foreign minister's announcement indicates that the sharing of use of the Ayni base with India is not on the cards. The 150 Indian personnel who were deployed there have been evacuated.

    The closure of the base option for India at Ayni is, however, not a setback for India's interests in the region, Angira Sen Sharma, associate fellow at the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, told Asia Times Online. India wields considerable soft power in Central Asia. A base at Ayni would have undermined that influence, she said.

    Drawing attention to China's strategy in Central Asia, Sharma said Beijing has focused more on investment there than on displaying its military might. India's interests in Central Asia, she said, would be better served through economic co-operation and investment in the region. Its investment in renovation of Ayni has enhanced its interests; using it as a military base would not.

    India's ouster from Ayni indicates how much its equation with Russia has changed over the years. It is not just India's growing ties with the US but Russia's increasing interaction with Pakistan that is impacting India-Russia relations.

    During the Cold War, the Soviets were bitterly opposed to Pakistan, given its participation in Western military alliances and its backing of the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan. Relations have improved significantly in recent years and while Russia is still to begin the sale of weapons directly to Pakistan, Russian military hardware and technologies have been made available through third countries like China and Ukraine.

    Increasingly, it seems Russia is looking to Pakistan as an ally on Central Asian issues.

    "What has made the Moscow turnaround is the realization that seeing Islamabad as part of the region's problems does not help to advance the Russian goal of playing a bigger role in the region. The Kremlin finally decided that Pakistan must be part of the solution," Vladimir Radyuhin wrote in The Hindu.

    In August this year, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan participated in a summit at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. The four had met in July last year at Dushanbe.

    While the joint statement adopted in Sochi highlighted the problems of terrorism and drug-trafficking, it is joint economic projects that dominated the summit agenda. Russia agreed to join two regional infrastructure projects, including CASA-1000 (Central Asia-South Asia), which involves export of electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan and the other a road and railway running from Tajikistan to Pakistan through the Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan.

    Given the growing Russia-Pakistan engagement and its immense potential, it is not surprising that Russia has not been too keen on sharing base space with India.

    Russian analysts have argued that the Tajiks could be dangling Ayni before the Russians as bait to secure Moscow's support on a dispute it has over water with Uzbekistan. However, it seems unlikely that the Kremlin will bite.

    Russia already has a base in Dushanbe, where some 5,000 personnel of the Russian 201st Motorized Rifle Division are deployed. It has been using this facility for free. Although the Tajiks have raised the issue of payment for the Dushanbe base with the Russians and soured relations a bit, Russia's position here is not shaky. It doesn't really need another base in Tajikistan.

    Indian officials say that Russia is not keen on using the Ayni base but doesn't want others to use it either.

    And there are several others besides India who have been eyeing Ayni. The French, for instance, who have been supporting their military operations in Afghanistan out of Dushanbe airport, would be keen to move them to Ayni. Then there are the Americans, whose future at the Manas base at Kyrgyzstan has become increasingly uncertain.

    If the Americans were to offer an attractive sum for use of Ayni, will the Tajiks bite the bait? That is unlikely, say Indian officials, pointing out that impoverished Tajikistan is still far too dependent on Russia to offer Ayni to the US.
     
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  3. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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    could anybody provide me more information about this?
     
  4. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    ^^ what link, its foregone conclusion that russia in future looks up to Pakistan, as we are moving away from them , they need Allys as well as routes to indian ocean as well as prevent terrorist . look deal is simple i u want your country as well as background to remain free of terrorist activities then have good relations with Pakistan , provide them with what ever they want that too free or soft loan and in turn Pakistan would provide information about terrorist which are planning against your country or even arrest and kill them or keep tab on them egs are china/usa/europe and in future russia

    @ topic this what happens when u don`t have any strategic experts while drawing ggeo-strategy our IAS babus are all short-sighted as are our leaders
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010
  5. chex3009

    chex3009 Regular Member

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    http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=122803&Itemid=1
    Pakistan, Russia allies in every sense of word: Putin



    DUSHANBE (Tajikistan), Nov 25 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met here on Thursday and discussed bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest. The two leaders, who met here on the sidelines of the 9th SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) hosted by Tajikistan, deliberated in detail on the prospects as well as the ways and means to further strengthen their bilateral relations through increased trade and economic interaction and cooperation in various fields. Prime Minister Gilani and Prime Minister Putin, who also discussed the situation in the region, were unanimous in the view that peace and security were vital for the enhanced economic development and prosperity of the people of this region.

    During the meeting, which was scheduled for half an hour but continued for around 45 minutes, the two leaders had a frank discussion on various matters of bilateral and regional interest.

    Prime Minister Gilani was assisted by Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Syed Naveed Qamar, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and senior officials.

    Prime Minister Putin appreciated Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in the war against terrorism and extremism.

    He said despite the global recession the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Russia had improved and picked up over the last eight months.

    The Russian Prime Minister said that a number of Russian companies were interested to invest in Pakistan’s various sectors. “Pakistan and Russia are allies in every sense of words,” he maintained.

    He also expressed his sympathies and condolences over the huge losses caused by the recent floods in Pakistan and said Russia was quick to respond and provided support to the Government of Pakistan in its relief and recovery efforts.

    Prime Minister Gilani thanked the Russian Prime Minister for his country’s support and assistance after the devastating floods hit Pakistan in summer, affecting over 20 million people.

    Gilani also extended invitation to the Russian Prime Minister for an official visit to Pakistan.

    The Prime Minister recalled his last meeting with the Russian leader in Beijing in October 2009 and noted good progress in the bilateral relations, including high level contacts.

    He said, ”Pakistan seeks a comprehensive partnership with Russia and is prepared to invest in developing mutually beneficial relations between the two countries for the shared goals of peace, stability and prosperity in the region.”

    The Prime Minister said he believed that their interests at most of the strategic, political and economic planes converge, adding, there are complementarities that must be utilized optimally to the mutual advantage.

    He said Pakistan and Russia should also consult closely on evolving new security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region as well as Greater Eurasian region.

    Prime Minister Gilani suggested a bilateral dialogue between Pakistan and Russia on matters relating to peace and stability of Afghanistan.
    He said the two countries must supplement the existing mechanisms between the two foreign ministries for a high / senior level dialogue on strategic and political issues.

    The Prime Minister said Pakistan and Russia have had good interaction at the official level between various departments as well as at the inaugural session of Inter-Governmental Commission in Moscow.

    “Our President has been participating in the quadrilateral process. We are happy that this process is now being institutionalized. We need to especially focus on our cooperation in building connectivity in trade and energy sectors”, he added.

    The Prime Minister proposed that Pakistan, Russia, Afghanistan and Tajikistan should initiate consultations on quadrilateral transit trade arrangement.

    Gilani said Pakistan was keen to expand its trade ties with Russia and he believed that the present volume of trade of $700 million could be enhanced to $1 billion.

    He also sought increased market access to Pakistani products in Russia, adding that there had been a renewed interest in Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.

    The Prime Minister mentioned the signing of a new MoU on Cooperation in Oil and Gas between the two countries on November 19 during Pakistani Minister of Petroleum’s visit to Moscow and said, “We welcome the interest of GAZPROM and its subsidiaries in participating in Iran-Pakistan and TAPI gas lines projects.”

    He said, "Pakistan hopes that the Russian leadership and government will endorse this participation and encourage the Russian companies to take part in these projects.”

    The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s interest in the purchase of MI-35 attack gunship helicopters to fight terrorism. He also proposed the signing of an MoU on Defence collaboration between Pakistan and Russia, to intensify cooperation in this important field.
     
  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Just confirms something i have said before that there is no base there.

    What is more concerning for India is the Russian influence in this matter and its growing closeness to pakistan. Recent statements by Putin on Pak is not music to Indian ears. India has to put its foot down. India still is the largest buyer of arms from Russia which Pakistan will only dream of matching.
     
  7. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Statement of Putin was twisted to prove that he called Pakistan as an Ally. All he did was that he praised Pakistan for sacrifices in war against terror . I donot think Russia is fool enough to kill a bird that gives them Golden eggs. There is already a thread on this ststement and that clearly shows how his statement was presented by Pakistani media .
     
  8. chex3009

    chex3009 Regular Member

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    Yeah Buddy, what u say is true, i found another transcript from the Russian Media:

    Here is the transcript reported by russian media.

    Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

    Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, I’m very glad to see you again.
    First of all, I’d like to again express my condolences over the disastrous flood that ravaged your country last summer. Russia promptly responded to this disaster and attempted to supply top priority aid.
    We are still affected by the aftermath of the global economic crisis. It has damaged our bilateral economic ties as well. However, the level of our trade has been recovering in the first eight months of this year. A number of Russian companies are directly interested in expanding their presence on the Pakistani market and cooperating with their partners in Pakistan.
    All of us have witnessed the recent anti-terrorist efforts of the Pakistani leadership. We are your allies in this struggle without reservation. I’m very glad to see you. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to discuss all issues of our bilateral relations.


    Yusuf Raza Gilani (as translated): Your Excellency, first of all I’d like to thank you for today’s meeting. After we met in Beijing in October, our relations and exchange of visits have been on the upsurge. Our oil minister visited Moscow recently, as well as the economy minister. Our relations have been developing fast.
    Taking this opportunity, I’d like to thank you for your assistance during the calamities in Pakistan. About 20 million people remain homeless in our country.
    We are doing all that we can to counter extremism and terrorism. We will not make any concessions. There are and will be huge human losses – our soldiers – on this road. We have lost many more lives than the NATO countries. We have also sustained economic damage.
     
  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    we are also diversifying like Russians and have been since putin allowed RD-93 engines to go to Pakistan.
     
  10. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Russia hates anyone who tries to meddle in what she perceives as her backyard, be it India or China or US. Don't think this is a sign of increasing closeness between Pakistan and Russia.

    On the other hand the reasoning behind India wanting to operate an airbase in central asia is quite dubious. Was this an attempt by india to outflank Pakistan or China, or did India simply want to serve a remainder to other countries that India too was a player in the region? For me it's quite obvious that without russia's active support and assistance this airbase would never really 'take off'.
     
  11. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    How do you know the Air Base in which India has invested so much, is not under the wings of India and this move by Russia is only a Hogwash!! Barring Failed State of beggar pakistan and North Korea, no other nation is comfortable with Chinese aggressive stance, especially its neighbors!!
     
  12. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    why is this dubouis and Chinese foreign ports are not??
     
  13. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    There is quite a difference between foreign ports and military airbases. Has china or her partners ever declared that their port projects overseas are for military purposes? You may speculate but officially these are all civilian projects, and nothing so far indicates the contrary, thus comparing a port project with an airbase is absurd. Further more logistically a port is a lot easier to access than say an airbase in a far away country with which you share no border. For me it would make a lot more sense if the country in question were nepal or sri lanka, but tajikstan? I think india once again overshot herself.
     
  14. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    The Tajik airbase could not have been possible logistically with out help from the Russians. IMO we needed permission from the Russians and not from the Tajiks for using the airbase. There was no way we could have used it without supplies from Russia for the Aircraft, it would have been very expensive and cumbersome to supply spares and other material from India on a regular basis.
     
  15. proud_hindustani

    proud_hindustani Regular Member

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    another big mistake - Russia's sale of military hardwares to Pakistan means a good opportunity for china to reverse engineer the hardwares which could be costly to Russia in the future.
     
  16. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Russia is only selling JF 17 engine and that too to Chinese . Its chinese who sell these planes to Pakistan . Russia sells many more advance weapons to China and they should be worried about Chinese copying them . When they are not worried about it why should we worry about china copying Russian weapons.
     
  17. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    sending warships to ports like SL are for economic reasons??
     
  18. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Russian weapons are almost a generation behind European and US weapons let them sell to the Chinese, this gives us an excuse to diversify away into better weapons.
     
  19. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Port calls are common practices of all navies worldwide. They usually carry minimal importance in military sense. US carriers for example routinely sail into the Hongkong harbour.
     
  20. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Guys, Putin's statements are totally twisted in DAWN than what it said in RIA Novosti. Russia doesn't like anyone having any base in former USSR territories. Simple as that. Ayni was a plan and that was only a secret. Now it is revealed that the plan has gone down since Russia doesn't want former USSR territories to be used by others, no matter who. Mongolia on the other hand was happy to provide a base in some reports earlier when Congress-led government backed down 2 years back so as not to "upset Chinese".

    What's more pathetic? Russia defending its assertion over its former territory and present dependency or Indian government backing down after another sovereign country willingly accepted allowing a base on its soil?
     
  21. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    I know something that is related to this - what you see in media is not true there is another wider talk in progress will let all know when the papers are signed , and one more thing people confuse , there are 2 air bases there which people confuse with one is ayani one is farkhor ( wrong spelling ) and both are close to each other and both had russian investment there
     

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