India’s Relations With Tajikistan: Beyond the Airbase

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Ray, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    What is India's game plan?

    Is India keener to project 'soft' power than power itself by coming to some military arrangements also?

    There is no doubt that Tajikistan plays a central role in CAR and its neighbourhood, to include China and Russia as also in Shanghai Five.

    Therefore, should India not pursue the military angle along with the projection of soft power?

    If so, how?
     
  2.  
  3. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    Sir the problem started when it was pronounced that any military bases in the CAR region must be ratified by the SCO , in this regard , russia tried many a time to include India in the SCO , but india is still hesitant.

    The indian thinking and exact idea will come to the forefront when the allied forces leave afganistan , as of now India is just biting the time , once the forces leave afganistan a major chaos is expected in the region again then i hope india will play its card. The ayani airbase is still has a big indian presence i think with a MI-17 logistic and maintenance facility.

    Apart from this the author failed to mention that AIR-INDIA trains major tajik civilian flights , i think air india has also leased a couple of its planes to the tajik civilian fleet , plus co-operation on the front of education especially medical is a major step ,students where tajik students are taught in various colleges in india as a one side exchange program.there might be many other instances which we are not aware of but out of the 5 republics there uzbek , tajik , kryz , turkmen , kazaks only tajiks and kazaks are very pro india rest have ideaological similarities with our very neighbour in the west.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    More dynamic Foreign Officers are required in CAR.
     
  5. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    2,312
    Likes Received:
    340
    well we need more friends and we can work better together
     
  6. joe81

    joe81 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Trivandrum
    Surprised to see that the Russians are also opposed to the plan of India setting up base in Ayni. Think it is the rub on effect for cooperating with the Americans.
     
  7. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    4,404
    Likes Received:
    2,783
    Location:
    Gangtok, Sikkim, India
    If we have to do this, we will have to convince Russia that we are not after their own geopolitical position and instead want strong ties with CAR to prevent Talibanism from spreading. Tajikistan is a key country simply because it will be critically needed to hold the extremely divisive Afghanistan together as one country. Even today, Karzai's limits are only within Kabul and the peaceful north Afghanistan while everything alongside AFPAK border is a chaotic mess.

    Soft power is not the need of the hour as most Indian experts tend to speculate and think that they have reached a certain "level" to play the game. No we have not. We simply need relations right now not to influence but to get our influence started slowly. It doesn't begin with Aid. It never begins with aid. It always begins with something called trade and commerce, military cooperation and strategic assistance--- something that China is doing very well. Offering contracts to make roads, build dams, construct hospitals and develop educational infrastructure, coupled with joint wargames is the fastest way to win the heart of any country.

    SCO has existed for quite some time and there have been instances in which we have been able to extract special favour from our Russian friends that bypass the restrictions of SCO. Pakistan's blocking to enter SCO is one instance. We need to hold high-level meeting with Russians and convince them that our presence in Tajikistan will have nothing against their influence but simply a means to build trust. Play that Taliban card and let them know that we are also in the same boat as they are. Tajikistan and AFPAK (through Wakhan Corridor and illegal Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) touch each other. This means that it is very easy for Taliban to take shelter in a weak Tajikistan who relies on SCO forces and especially the Russian military assistance. Now considering SCO, we should not let China gain massive inroads into the country. Do anything to make sure they don't gain too much advantage just because of their economy.

    If we are able to hold lucrative contracts for Tajiks, able to assist them in standing up rather than old-fashioned aid money, we can then gain more influence. Aid is no longer what countries want for securing friendly ties--- it is trade, commerce, infrastructure and military assistance in material sense.
     
  8. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,203
    Likes Received:
    5,116
    Location:
    India
    Tajikistan: No Hajj, No Hijab, and Shave Your Beard

    Technically, freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution of Tajikistan. But in reality, religious practice–at least for members of the country’s Muslim majority–is tightly controlled by the state. In recent months, Tajikistan has furthered steadied its grip on the practice of Islam with the president commenting on proper attire, reports of forced beard-shavings, and new regulations on who can travel to Mecca on hajj.

    Until last month’s parliamentary elections, Tajikistan was the only Central Asian state in which political Islam had representation. The Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) is widely touted as the only legally registered religious party in the region. While true, in the March election (unsurprisingly flawed) the IRPT lost, and for the first time since its legalization following the civil war will be out of government entirely. To add insult to injury the country’s official religious bodies have called for the IRPT to be banned, and some have suggested it should be labeled a terrorist organization.

    The tightening grip of the state on Islam extends beyond politics. The State Committee on Religious Affairs (CRA) is responsible for overseeing and implementing laws relating to religion–including registration of religious groups, regulation of imports of religious materials, and oversight of mosques and churches. The Council of Ulema guides the Tajik Muslim community and while nominally independent, presents a state-approved version of Islam.

    There are laws on the books banning female students from wearing hijabs, prohibiting those under the age of 18 from from participating in public religious activities, except funerals, which are regulated anyway. According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2013 International Religious Freedom Report:

    The law regulates private celebrations and funeral services, including weddings and Mavludi Payghambar (the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday). The law limits the number of guests, eliminates engagement parties, and controls ceremonial gift presentations and other rituals. The religion law reiterates these principles, mandating that “mass worship, religious traditions, and ceremonies should be carried out according to the procedure of holding meetings, rallies, demonstrations, and peaceful processions prescribed by law.”

    State control of religious expression extends to personal dress and grooming. In January 2014, Tajik Imams were issued new uniforms, and Abdulfattoh Shafiev wrote recently for Global Voices about several incidents of forced beard-shaving.

    On March 31 a visitor to Khujand lost his way, and asked a local policeman how to find it again. The 38-year-old man, who grew a beard after a pilgrimage to the Kaaba five years ago, soon regretted his question.

    He claims he was taken to a police station, beaten, and forcefully shaved.

    As in the other former Soviet republics of Central Asia, the government of Tajikistan is fiercely secular while the people are mostly Muslim. The influence of Soviet communism on religion in the region should not be discounted, and fundamentally influences the relationship between people, their religion, and politics. In a paper published by Chatham House last November, John Heathershaw, and David W. Montgomery identify the claim that political Islam opposes the secular state as one of the six myths of post-Soviet Muslim radicalization in Central Asia. Myth or not, the worry that political Islam could challenge the establishment, persists.

    This week, Interfax reported that the CRA said in a press conference that only people over the age of 35 would be among those permitted to perform the annual pilgrimage (hajj) to the Islamic holy sites at Medina and Mecca this year. CRA is responsible for registering those who wish to travel for hajj. Saudi Arabia, which establishes national quotas in order to regulate the overwhelming flood of faithful each year, has reportedly lowered Tajikistan’s quota from 8,000 to 6,300 people.

    One way to view the Tajik government’s age restriction is practicality–this is an easy way to trim the applicant pool. But in light of other trends, and the government’s overwhelming fear of youth radicalization, the dictum feeds into a larger narrative chronicling Tajikistan’s crackdown on Islam.

    Tajikistan: No Hajj, No Hijab, and Shave Your Beard | The Diplomat
     
  9. anupamsurey

    anupamsurey Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2014
    Messages:
    986
    Likes Received:
    396
    Location:
    karnataka
    wisely so, no religion should be allowed to interfere in politics of a nation. this is viciously harmful to both the nation and its people. and so far the communist influence in taji's political aspect has been very prominent. this is the sole reason you see tajikistan behave in above said ways.
     
  10. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,203
    Likes Received:
    5,116
    Location:
    India
    Will There Be an Indian Air Base in Tajikistan?

    [​IMG]

    A perennial rumor followed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tajikistan over the weekend: that India wants to lease the Ayni airbase outside of Dushanbe. The source of the rumor was Mail Today, the Indian edition of the U.K.’s Daily Mail – a tabloid newspaper read best with an entire block of salt on hand.

    Mail Today reported Saturday that leasing the Ayni air base was going to top Modi’s agenda in Dushanbe. From there, the rumor spread through the hyperactive Indian press — and made an appearance in Tajikistan’s nascent press. Like all good rumors, the Ayni air base lease story has roots in the truth but doesn’t, ultimately, reflect reality.

    [​IMG]
    Tajikistan maintains a hospital facility in southern Tajikistan, which Modi visited Sunday. The India-Tajik Friendship Hospital, according to the Indian government, is located in Qurghonteppa, Tajikistan and opened in November 2014. It is often referred to as a military hospital and seems to be confused with Ayni on occasion, as well as Farkhor air base. In 2013 the Indian press went wild saying that “India already has over 100 Indian military personnel stationed at the Ayni airbase” and that India had “quietly airlifted” a military hospital to the country. But the Ayni air base, located outside of Dushanbe, is nearly 100 km north of Qurghonteppa. (The Ayni air base is also known as Gissar and there is apparently also an Ayni airport in northern Tajikistan, no relation.)

    During the late 1990s and early 2000s, India operated a military hospital at the Farkhor air base, near the Afghan border, providing care to Northern Alliance fighters. In 2002, India reportedly flew cargo out of Farkhor, with Russian permission, but there never was any evidence — aside from rumors — of an Indian air force presence. When NATO established the ISAF mission, India closed the hospital at Farkhor. There’s not much there anymore.

    Beginning around 2003, India helped refurbish the Ayni base — extending the runway, building a control tower, and three new hangars. In 2013 Micha’el Tanchum wrote that “the airbase remains unused. There are no reports of Indian combat aircraft having ever been stationed at the base.” India forked out millions renovating the base at Ayni, only to be blocked from moving in by the Russians. Russia, unlike India, does have verifiable military forces stationed in Tajikistan — the 201st Motor Rifle Division, which includes about 7,000 troops using facilities in Dushanbe, Kulob, and Qurghonteppa.

    In 2008, Eurasianet tracked the vicious cycle of diplomacy between India and Russia over the Ayni base:

    When India was finally ready to proceed with making Ayni fully operational, Russia was having second thoughts. And during the latter half of 2007, Moscow let it be known that it not only opposed Indian deployment, but it also began pressuring President Imomali Rahmon’s (sic) administration in Dushanbe to revoke Indian access to the base.

    The recent gossip about Ayni fits snugly into a decade-old rumor mill. Tajik government officials told Asia-Plus that “the issue of the Ayni air base is not going to be discussed.” Noticeably, Modi’s website — which has tracked every step, speech, Tweet, and Instagram from his trip — makes no mention of the air base. Moreover, while Modi’s staff posted nearly every speech he gave and every joint press statement, only for Tajikistan did they post a list of agreements signed. There were only two agreements on the list: one for cultural cooperation and a second confirming India’s intention to set up computer labs 37 in Tajik schools.

    Now, none of this means that defense planners in India don’t want an external air base; it would be strategically useful. But there’s no evidence — beyond tabloid rumors — that such a base exists or is even in the works. India certainly plans on increasing defense cooperation with Central Asia, and joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization next year makes it more likely that Indian troops will visit the region for training exercises. This will undoubtedly spark more rumors in the years to come.

    http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/will-there-be-an-indian-air-base-in-tajikistan/
     

Share This Page