and joint exercises. India also extends assistance to Tajikistan to raise and build an effective air force. The Aini facility thus is the first home to Tajikistan’s air force. In addition, India has gifted military uniform for two brigades, aviation suits, computers, language training material, military jeeps and trucks and two Mi-8 helicopters along with spare parts and consumables. As a component of officers training, batches of young military cadets from Tajikistan regularly receive training at the National Defense Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla, since 1998. Tajikistan is one of the largest beneficiaries of India’s ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) programme, where Tajik officers have been trained regularly. Besides, the Tajik Ministry of Defense received a grant of US$ 0.5 million to renovate and upgrade the Tajik Military Institute in Dushanbe.12 Tajikistan does not have an army that could guarantee its territorial integrity and is also not in a position to establish a well-trained standing army as its economy is unable to finance and support their needs. Though Tajikistan spends around 3.5% of its GDP on defense and security, the sum of US$ 35 million per annum is too little for the defense of the country. Tajikistan’s standing army is made up of conscripts and the size of the army is dependent on the conscription.13 Tajikistan, in addition, also needs air arms that could extend aerial support for its ground forces where India can cooperate. India may expand the bilateral defense cooperation to help Tajikistan establish a professional army.
India-Tajikistan Joint Commission for Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation was established on August 2006, by Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s Special Secretary G K Pillai on behalf of the Government of India and Minister for Economy and Trade of Tajikistan H. H. Soliev, in Dushanbe.14 However, trade and economic cooperation between India and Tajikistan is insignificant, as two-way trade in 2007-08 was valued at a meagre $22.11 million.15 This is clearly due to the fact that there are a number of constraints in the promotion of Trade. Mainly, due to lack of easy access and transportation facility. Regrettably, till date there is no direct air service linking Dushanbe to Delhi which can be barely two hours away. India’s economic progress is admired in Tajikistan which will be beneficial for increasing trade and economic cooperation.16 However, the primary obstacle is the transportation difficulties. Thus, India and Tajikistan together should take-up these issues and try to overcome these challenges. Given the goodwill that exists, India should use its economic and inherent prowess to play a prominent and influencing role in Tajikistan.