Indo-Tajik Friendship During Current Difficult Geo-Politic Situation

By: Farhad

29 Jun 2023
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Indo-Tajik Friendship During Current Difficult Geo-Politic Situation

Afghanistan Explainer

Tajikistan lies in the heart of central Asia and is surrounded by Kirgizstan on the north, Afghanistan on the south China on the east, and Uzbekistan on the west. It was earlier a constituent part of the former Soviet Union and attained freedom from it in 1991 when it got disintegrated. however, relations between both have been strong and gaining further momentum even during the present difficult geo-political situation.

Relations between India and Tajikistan have been quite healthy as a result of history, culture, similar traditions, and values. The relations have been further consolidated by the visit of high-level dignitaries from both sides to the other’s territory. Former Indian Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihar Vajpayee visited Tajikistan in 2003. It was followed by President Pratibha Patil who visited Tajikistan on a state visit in 2009, Vice President Shri Hamid Ansari visited Tajikistan in 2013, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 and President Shri Ramnath Kovind on a state visit to Tajikistan from 7- 9 October 2018. During these visits, relations between the two countries got strengthened with a commitment to further expand them with the strategic partnership for peace and stability between the two states and the surrounding region.

The leaders from both states have time and again emphasized the cultural affinity between people from both sides and have recognized the significance of cultural exchange programs for training and other activities to be provided to the budding Tajik students, government/non-government functionaries, and experts as they are going to be the future Tajik leaders, people who can strengthen already excellent bonds existing at present.

The former Indian president Ram Nath Kovind had also allocated a grant of USD 20 million to Tajikistan for the implementation of mutually identified and viable development projects. Also, the bilateral relations have already been elevated to the level of a strategic partnership during Tajik President Emomali Rahman’s visit to India in 2012.

Both nations have been actively cooperating in the multilateral fora, including the UN and SCO.

Tajikistan is always supportive of India’s permanent UNSC membership. In 2020 Tajikistan extended its support for India’s candidature to a non-permanent seat in UNSC for the term 2021-22. India too extended its support to Tajikistan’s accession to WTO. Tajikistan proposal at the UN on water-related issues and candidature on ECOSOC has been supported by India.

In the area of defense production, India not long ago upgraded the Ayni Airbase of Tajikistan and also successfully run the Indo-Tajik friendship hospital at  Bokhtar city. During the outbreak of Covid-19, in 2020 India provided humanitarian medical assistance to Tajikistan and also has been a partner to Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

An important aspect of Indo-Tajik friendship is the strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties existing between them. Tajik people extremely love Indian culture and films, TV series daubed in the Russian language and regularly shown on local TV channels. To further consolidate these cultural linkages, Swami Vivekananda cultural center in Dushanbe within the Indian embassy premises offers courses in Indian classical dances and musical instruments through teachers deployed by the Indian Council for cultural relations from India. this center also offers Hindi language classes.

There lies immense potential in the area of bilateral defense and security cooperation as Tajikistan is located near Pakistan-administered Kashmir and thereby holds geostrategic importance. It is important to mention that both states shall benefit by enhancing the connectivity proposed in North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC), which will bring economic growth mutually profitable to them. International North-South Transport Corridor in combination with the Ashgabat agreement on international transport and transit corridors is increasing the connectivity between central Asian nations and India.

The two nations have common concerns in the security arena, especially in the context of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and its fallout. It is not hidden that Tajikistan stands out as the 2nd largest producer of Hydro-electricity in the commonwealth of independent states after Russia and also has the largest water resources in the region thereby it is extremely useful for India to harness Tajik potential in the Hydro-electricity arena.

The two countries need to explore the possibility of establishing transport corridors including rail lines in cooperation with other regional states. There is also a need to increase trade and investment and for this India needs to explore investment opportunities in Tajik-free economic zones, especially in mining, information technology biotechnology, pharmaceutical, textiles, goods, and leather products.

There is an urgent need for both states to collaborate on capacity building in Tajikistan in the area of space technology application for human development. It is also needed to deepen cooperation in the form sector for self-sufficiency in food and engagement for sustainable generation and distribution of energy for regional development. It will also be a wise decision to enhance the number and frequency of flights operating between the two states to bring up the passenger and cargo traffic.

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