India-Tajikistan Relations

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    • Recently India’s Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences held a bilateral meeting with the Minister for Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan.

    About

    • The discussion was based on water resources research, with a particular focus on Glacier monitoring and understanding, Non-conventional Energy, etc. 
      • Few other issues like the Peaceful Use of Space Technology and Disaster Management were also discussed.
    • Tajikistan Minister requested India to support global water action and climate resistance on Water for Sustainable Development.

    Significance

    • Glaciers and Water management:
      • The Tajakistan  has recently expressed concern that the Fedchenko and other Pamir glaciers have been shrinking due to global warming and that continuing temperature increases.
      • This could endanger that nation’s water supply and increase the risk of natural disasters, including floods and landslides.
      • Lack of access to clean drinking water has been a major issue in Tajikistan, particularly in rural areas. Many residents rely on rivers and open ditches for drinking water.
    • Strategic importance:
      • Tajikistan occupies a strategically important position in Central Asia, bordering Afghanistan, the People’s Republic of China and separated by a small strip of Afghan territory called the Wakhan Corridor from northern Pakistan.
      • India’s role in fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and its strategic rivalry with both China and Pakistan have made its ties with Tajikistan important to its strategic and security policies.

    Glaciers in Tajikistan

    • About 50% of the glaciation area in Central Asia relates to Tajikistan. 
    • There are more than 8,000 glaciers in Tajikistan with the area of 8.5 thousand sq. km. 
    • They are involved in feeding the main rivers of the republic and during the hottest days of summer they give fresh water, which is very necessary not only for Tajikistan but also for other countries of the Central Asian region. 
      • Large glaciers in Tajikistan feed the Amu Darya and Zeravshan river systems, whose water flows down to the downstream countries – Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan
      • Therefore, it is customary to say that most of the region’s water is generated in Tajikistan.
    • Fedchenko Glacier: 
      • It is an extensive valley glacier, situated in the Central Asian Pamirs range, central Tajikistan. 
      • It is the world’s largest glacier found outside the polar regions. 
      • It is about 45 miles (70 km) long and covers up to some 350 square miles (900 square km).

    India-Tajikistan Relations

    • India and Tajikistan established diplomatic relations in August 1992 and the regular high-level visits between the two countries have further cemented the bilateral ties.
      • India and Tajikistan are celebrating a 30-year relationship this year.
    • India established its embassy in Dushanbe in 1994.
    • Cooperation on International Forums:
      • Tajikistan generally backs India in most elections for UN bodies and other international organizations. 
      • Tajikistan expressed support for India’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the term 2021-22. 
      • Tajikistan has publicly supported India’s bid for UN Security Council permanent membership. 
      • Tajikistan was a staunch supporter of India’s SCO membership. 
      • In 2013, India backed Tajikistan’s WTO accession.
    • Connectivity, Trade & Economic Relation
      • Trade and Economy is the weakest link in India-Tajikistan’s relationship, which in turn is impacted by the lack of reliable land connectivity between the two countries. 
      • The trade route through Iran and Turkmenistan is impacted from time to time due to US sanctions on Iran, and the ups and downs of bilateral relation between Turkmenistan and Tajikistan
      • 11th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission of Tajikistan and India:
        • It discussed issues on trade-economic, scientific and technical cooperation in 2020, where cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, finance, investment, the private sector, industry and new technologies, transport, agriculture, energy, education, culture and tourism were discussed.
      • To expand economic co-operation and trade, Tajikistan and India established an inter-governmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical co-operation. 
      • Both the countries have encouraged investment and trade in hydroelectricity, transport, mining, food processing, construction and tourism.
      • Indian exports to Tajikistan:
        • It mainly consists of pharmaceuticals, medical preparations, cane or beet sugar, tea, handicraft and machinery. 
        • Indian pharmaceutical products occupy approximately 25% of Tajik market. However, not all medical products are directly imported from India and some of it arrives in Tajikistan via Russia. 
      • Indian imports from Tajikistan:
        • Different types of ores, slag and ash, aluminum, organic chemicals, herbal oils, dried fruits and cotton are exported to India by Tajikistan.
    • Energy cooperation:
      • An (MoU) Memorandum of Understanding between India and Tajikistan was signed on Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy in 2018. 
      • It focuses on the development and deployment of new and renewable energy, as well as energy storage technologies.
    • Humanitarian assistance and human capacity building:
      • India-Tajikistan Friendship Hospital (ITFH) was recently unveiled by India in Tajikistan to render medical support.
      • Tajikistan has been a beneficiary of the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC)
      • Every year about 25 Indian Council of Cultural Research (ICCR) scholarships are offered to Tajik citizens. 
    • Cultural & People-to-People Relation
      • India and Tajikistan share strong historical, cultural and linguistic ties. 
      • There is great liking for Indian culture and films and films and TV serials dubbed in Russian language are routinely shown on local TV channels.
      • To further deepen and widen these cultural linkages, Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre in Dushanbe offers courses in Kathak&Tabla through teachers deployed b ICCR from India. 
      • The centre also offers Hindi language classes.
      • Yoga is very popular among local people in Tajikistan. 
    • Military cooperation:
      • India’s military presence and activities have been significant, beginning with India’s extensive support to the anti-Taliban Afghan Northern Alliance (ANA).
      • Farkhor Air Base:
        • It is a military air base located near the town of Farkhor in Tajikistan.
        • It is operated by the Indian Air Force in collaboration with the Tajik Air Force.
        • Farkhor is India’s first military base outside its territory.
      • India is the fourth nation after the US, Russia and Germany to have a military base in Central Asia.

    Source: TH