Indian Council of World Affairs
Sapru House, Barakhambha Road New Delhi
India-Tajikistan: An Enduring Relationship
Nivedita Das Kundu*
All five Central Asia states have huge significance for India due to their vital geo-strategic location. The five landlocked republics-Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are in India’s extended neighbourhood. The Central Asian region as a whole, not only connects Asia to Europe, but is also rich in natural resources. Along with other Central Asian Republics, Tajikistan occupies a special place in India’s foreign policy priorities. Central Asia has been of great significance to India in the past as well as today. Tajikistan, which is a
1 Tajikistan is separated from the Indian sub-continent by the Wakhan Corridor [Afghanistan] which is 200 kilometers long and varying from only 16 to 65 kilometers in width.2 Tajikistan’s population estimated is around seven million; the population is small and young. It has the largest natural water resources in the region. Unlike other four Republics, exploitation of Tajikistan’s modest fossil fuel and natural gas resources are currently not economically viable.
Tajikistan is an active member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Independent States [CIS], Central Asian Economic Alliance [CAEA], Conference on Interaction & Confidence Building Measures in Asia [CICA], Economic Cooperation Organization [ECO], and Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]3. It is also a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [OSCE], Organization of Islamic Conference [OIC]. Tajikistan is also a participant in NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and in the Partnership for Peace Program.4
India-Tajikistan relations are cordial and friendly. Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Tajikistan in November 20035 and President Rahmanov paid a visit to India in August 2006.6