Will there be an Indian Air Base in Tajikistan?

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by LETHALFORCE, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,551
    Likes Received:
    6,556
    [​IMG]
    Ayni Air Base
    Image Credit: Screenshot, Google Earth
    Will There Be an Indian Air Base in Tajikistan?
    A decade-old rumor springs to life again with Prime Minister Modi’s trip to Tajikistan.

    [​IMG]
    By Catherine Putz
    July 15, 2015

    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.

    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.)

    [​IMG]
    The Farkhor Air base

    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/
     
  2.  
  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,551
    Likes Received:
    6,556
  4. blueblood

    blueblood Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,871
    Likes Received:
    1,428
    Ayni can be the perfect non-threatening outpost India can have. Couple of armed and surveillance drones along with a squadron of Mi-17 should be enough to maintain presence in the region but not enough to ruffle Russia or China's feathers.
     
    LETHALFORCE likes this.
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,551
    Likes Received:
    6,556

    If we are going to lease a base there will most likely be strategic assets also placed there or it serves little to no purpose?
     
  6. blueblood

    blueblood Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,871
    Likes Received:
    1,428
    That depends on GOI's balls and Russia's mood more than anything else.
     
    DingDong and LETHALFORCE like this.
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,551
    Likes Received:
    6,556
    I really don't expect much to happen in Tajikistan this has been an ongoing saga for the last ten years. Better possibilities in Afghanistan or Iran.
     
  8. blueblood

    blueblood Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,871
    Likes Received:
    1,428
    Both are a no go. Iran is too proud and Pakistan will have bloody diarrhea if a single Indian boot is on Afghan soil and then terror factory will start churning its flagship product.
     
    Dark Sorrow likes this.
  9. Bornubus

    Bornubus Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2015
    Messages:
    4,208
    Likes Received:
    7,030
    We have the strength,we have the money.It would provide us strategic depth and power projection.

    Also,support for Northern Alliance when needed.They are Indian allies.
     
    LETHALFORCE likes this.
  10. OrangeFlorian

    OrangeFlorian #GoldAndBlack Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2016
    Messages:
    1,579
    Likes Received:
    523
    Location:
    Soviet Canuckistan
    I heard somewhere about it I thought it was already finished.
     

Share This Page