Books on Tajikistan
Update No: 287 - (29/11/04)
Russia opening military base In Tajikistan
Russia is opening a new military base in Tajikistan, Russian Defence Minister
Sergei Ivanov announced on October 14th.
Ivanov said that the base would open immediately, and that it will be formed out
of an infantry division that has been based in the Central Asian country since
before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tajik President Imomali Rakhmanov
acknowledged that Tajikistan had made such an agreement with Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Tajikistan in October, where signed
several economic and military agreements with Tajik officials.
Tajik president in six-day European tour
Rakhmanov had a six-day European tour in late October that took him to the Czech
Republic, Luxembourg and Belgium. Rakhmonov held talks with Czech leaders aimed
at securing investment in a hydroelectric power station in Sangtuda, located on
the river Vakhsh, 60 kilometres (35 miles) southeast of the Tajik capital
Dushanbe is struggling to complete financing for the plant, which has already
taken 15 years to build and Tajik authorities are in negotiations with Iran over
a 400-million-dollar grant to complete the Soviet-era project. Tajikistan like
Iran, is Farsi speaking.
In Luxembourg, Rakhmonov signed a partnership agreement with the European Union
-- Tajikistan is the last of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia to have
signed such agreements with the 25-nation EU.
Rakhmanov ended his tour with a trip to Brussels, where he visited the
headquarters of the NATO military alliance. Tajikistan allowed the US to use air
bases and other facilities in its war against the Taleban and al-Qaeda, although
the promised follow-up has not been forthcoming in the manner expected.
Washington has been distracted by Iraq.
India the new ally
Rakhmanov is opening up to Asia, not just Europe.
India's first-ever military outpost on foreign soil, located at Farkhor, about
10 km outside Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, is ready to become operational by
this year-end, without any fanfare.
Reliable sources in the government say the Indian Air Force (IAF) is pressing
for an early decision on a suitable aircraft to be stationed at this military
base. Operational requirements stipulate at least two squadrons to be stationed
there. Logically, experts say, IAF could opt for MiG-29s that are already in its
inventory and can be flown in and out of the region.
Although Indian officials are not willing to discuss the importance of the
Farkhor military base, foreign analysts have noted that the acquisition of the
military base in Tajikistan would certainly give the Indian armed forces a
longer strategic reach.
Defence sources describe it as a "modern" military base where 95 per
cent of the infrastructure is in place. The runway, the blast pans and the
control tower are ready.
The Indian Army is also into this exercise, having operated a military hospital
there, basically to nurse the Northern Alliance soldiers who fought the Taliban
regime in neighbouring Afghanistan between 1997 and 2001. It was to this
hospital that Ahmed Shah Massoud, the last of the anti-Taliban resistance
leader, was brought dead after Al-Qaeda's emissaries, posing as TV journalists,
killed him in an explosion three years ago.
The base is the outcome of considerable behind-the-scene work by the MEA,
clinched after the US, which marked a big military presence in Central Asia in
the wake of 9/11, preferred not to establish a base.
Work by then defence minister George Fernandes led to a bilateral agreement
being signed in 2002 during then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to Tajikistan.
Even before 9/11, Rakhmanov had been visiting India. The two countries share
common security threat perceptions.
Although Russia's 82nd Motorised Division guards the Tajik border with
Afghanistan, the bilateral agreement stipulates the presence of both Indian Army
and IAF personnel who will also assist in warding off any threat to Tajikistan.
Tajik air carrier to buy AN-140-100 plane
Ukraine's Kharkiv aircraft production enterprise and Tajikistan's TOJ- Airlines
signed a contract for the procurement of an AN-140-100 regional passenger plane,
the enterprise's press service said, Interfax News Agency said.
Under the contract the plane would be handed over in September 2005 a press
serves official said.
The aircraft would be used for making regular flights on short domestic and
international routes. The Tajik carrier has also considered the possibility of
procuring another AN-140-100. The Kharkiv enterprise earlier signed a contract
for the supplies of four AN-140-100 aircraft to Azerbaijani's AZAL state-owned
consortium. The first of them would be handed over to the customer in November.
IMF evaluates Tajikistan's economic development as positive
IMF managing director, Horst Kohler, has evaluated Tajikistan's economic
development as positive, in particular citing the high indicators of economic
growth and macroeconomic stability recently achieved, Interfax News Agency
"I came to show our determined support of this country which is moving in
the right direction," Horst Kohler told journalists after meeting with
Tajik President, Emomali Rakhmonov.
Kohler believes that the business climate in Tajikistan must be improved to
provide further economic growth and to create a good environment for the
development of small businesses.
"There should be less bureaucratic involvement in small and medium- sized
businesses and the fight against corruption should be more active since poorer
people suffer from it most of all," he said.
"Taking into account the agricultural production volume, its privatisation
and reform is a priority and a necessity," Kohler said.
He said that the IMF expects Tajikistan's GDP to grow by at least 6% in 2004 and
the yearly inflation to increase by 7%.
Kohler began a tour of CIS countries on November 10. In addition to Tajikistan,
he planned to visit Armenia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia.
MINERALS & METALS
RusAl set to help build aluminium smelter in Tajikistan
RusAl's board Chairman, Oleg Deripaska and Tajik Economics and Trade Minister,
Hakim Soliyev, signed an agreement on October 16th, in Dushanbe on behalf of the
Russian aluminium giant company and the Tajik government in the presence of the
countries' presidents. RusAl would help construct a 200,000 tpy aluminium
smelter worth 600 million Euro over a five-year period in southern Tajikistan,
Tajik President, Emomali Rakhmonov, said after a meeting with his Russian
counterpart Vladimir Putin. RusAl would also help to upgrade two divisions of
the existing smelter in Tajikistan, the TadAZ smelter, Rakhmonov said. In all,
the Russian concern would participate in projects worth more than one billion
euro in Tajikistan. Rakhmonov said the TadAZ smelter upgrade would boost the
plant's capacity by 100,000 tonnes of aluminium per year and that the project
would cost 160 million Euro. According to Interfax, RusAl had planned to invest
more than 10 billion Euro in development between 2004 and 2014 and to build at
least three new smelters.
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