India’s Presence in Tajikistan

By: Farhad

1 Aug 2023
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India’s Presence in Tajikistan

India and Central Asian countries share many common interests such as cultural and economic interests, and a long tradition of historical relations goes back to the ancient era. There is a convergence of views and interests between India and the Central Asian Republics on various issues as such (a) social harmony and co-existence; (b) secularism and commitment to oppose religious fundamentalism; (c) promoting economic development and trade expansion (d) connectivity and (e) ensuring peaceful and tranquil neighborhood in Afghanistan. Central Asian Countries also expect India to play a balancing role in the big power games in the region.

In 1997, the then Indian Prime Minister, I. K. Gujral stated that “much of India’s foreign policy revolves around economic and infrastructural needs”. He drew a vision of regional economic development including Central Asia which he called “our near abroad.” Gujral emphasized investment in infrastructure: railroads, roads, power generation, telecommunications, ports and airports, informatics, cross-border investments, energy exchanges, up to and including “Trans-Asian pipelines,” strengthened regional organizations, tariff reductions and freer trade, and meeting “an exponential surge in energy demand” through the cooperative development of all forms of energy. (Gujral, 181-191).

This article highlights India’s presence in Tajikistan and its contribution to the political, defense economic and trade, cultural, education, and medicine including emergency medical supplies, infrastructures including road-building connections

India’s relationship with Tajikistan goes back to the ancient Silk Road, despite the limited exchanges between the two sides through the old silk road, there is a renovated effort to reconnect India with Tajikistan. In the last 3 decades, Tajikistan has been looking for a feasible partner such as India, in economic, political, and security sectors. both side share interests in countering terrorism and fundamentalism, enhancing trade and commerce, science technology, and medical exchange.

Consultative Mechanism between India and Tajikistan

  1. Foreign Office Consultations
  2. Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism
  3. Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation
  4. Joint working group on Defence
  5. Collaborative working group on Peaceful Use of Space Technology for Development


MOUs signed between India and Tajikistan

  1. Peaceful Use of Space Technology
  2. Disaster Management
  3. Renewable Energy
  4. Youth Affairs
  5. Agricultural Research and Education
  6. Unani Medicine
  7. Program between Foreign Ministries for 2018-21
  8. Cultural Exchange Programme for 2019-23


Political and Diplomatic relations

India was among the few countries that recognized Tajikistan’s independence soon after the Soviet Union collapsed in the year 1991. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on 28 August 1992, and in these three decades, regular high-level official visits between the two sides have further cemented the bilateral ties.

Over the past three decades of smooth relationship between the two countries, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan paid, official and working visits to the Republic of India during the years (1993, 1995, 2001, 2006, 2012, and 2016).

India’s Prime Minister Attal Bihari Vajpayee paid official and working visits to Tajikistan in 2003 and Narendra Modi in 2015.

The President of the Republic of India paid official and working visits to Tajikistan (6-8 September 2009 and 7-9 October 2018).

Official and working visits of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan to the Republic of India took place on 12-14 May 2015 and 17-20 December 2021.

Working visits of the Foreign Minister of the Republic of India to the Republic of Tajikistan were held on 11-12 September 2014, 11-12 October 2018, and 14-15 June 2019.

Meetings at the level of Ministers and government officials within the various programs have been held and both sides supported each other in regional and international level platforms.


Defense Cooperation

India has been one of its counterparts of Tajikistan in fighting international terrorism during the 1990s and its military presence and activities have been significant.

A military hospital in southern Tajikistan with a capacity of 50 beds established by India that treats military personnel as well as civilians.

India provides Tajik young military officers short and long-term high-level military training in India’s military academies

Economic, Trade, and Transit

Since Tajikistan’s independence in 1991, India has played the role of a development and aid partner for the Tajik side. India’s construction of roads, airports, and electricity projects are few among the Indian economic cooperation to Tajikistan to be mentioned.

The Bilateral trade and commercial activities between India and  Tajikistan are not at a significant level and are much below the available potential. Export- imports are hampered due to Pakistan’s restriction on the Wagah border to the Indian vehicles and the indirect route for the transit of goods from India to Bandar Abbas by sea route, and land through Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. India’s plan for Chabahr port development is one of the main projects which will facilitate the transit of Tajikistan and other Central Asian products to the Indian market bypassing Pakistan.

The major items  India export are pharmaceuticals, tea, coffee, chemicals, textiles sugar cane, clothing, and machinery, and the major imports from Tajikistan are aluminum, cotton, dry fruits, vegetables, organic chemicals, and essential oils. India’s pharmaceutical export to Tajikistan occupies approximately 25% of the Tajik market.

Indian exports to Tajikistan mainly consist of pharmaceuticals, medical preparations, cane or beet sugar, tea, handicraft, and machinery. Indian pharmaceutical products.


Cultural and education  

Both the people of India and Tajikistan share strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. There is a great favor for the Indian films and TV serials labeled in the Russian language are routinely shown on local Tajik TV channels.

The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre based in Dushanbe in order to deepen and widen these cultural linkages, offers courses in Kathak and Tabla through teachers deployed by the Indian Council for cultural relations (ICCR) from India. The center also offers Hindi language classes.

India also offers around 25 scholarships under ICCR for undergraduate, Postgraduate, and Ph.D. and more than 250 short-term courses for government employees of various sectors for Tajik nationals to build their capacities.


Emergency and Humanitarian support

India has initiated Numerous emergency and humanitarian assistance projects for Tajikistan.

During the Covid-19 issue in late 2019 and early 2020, India provided humanitarian medical assistance and vaccination to the Tajik government to tackle the problem.

In conclusion, it can be said that India’s policy toward Tajikistan has been friendly and supportive since its independence and assisted in all the areas mentioned by the friendly people of Tajikistan and this cooperation is expanding day by day in various fields.

In conclusion, it can be said that India’s policy toward Tajikistan has been friendly and supportive since its independence and assisted in all the areas mentioned by the friendly people of Tajikistan and this cooperation is expanding day by day, especially since the state visit of India’s Prime minister Narendra Modi to Tajikistan in  2015  in various fields.


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