India’s interests in Tajikistan are multifold- strategic, economic & cultural. Furthermore, India hopes that Tajikistan remains stable, secular and friendly. However, external factors like instability in Afghanistan do pose a threat to secularism, political stability and democratic principles in Tajikistan. Instability in Afghanistan has its direct repercussions in neighbouring Tajikistan.17 India would no doubt take cognizance of these facts in its strategic cooperation with Tajikistan.
India-Tajikistan both the countries are keen to take the bilateral relationship to new heights to enhance the goodwill, trust and mutual confidence. President Patil during her visit to Tajikistan on 23rd September, 09, mentioned in her speech:
The Central Asian region figures very high in India’s foreign policy priorities. India would like the bilateral relations with Tajikistan to be truly multi-faceted and cover wide ranging areas from cooperation in the field of education, culture and enhanced business
transactions. India would also like the bilateral relations to address the contemporary and crucial issues of energy, food and regional security.18
Both Indian and Tajik Presidents said that there is immense potential to enhance economic cooperation and increase trade volumes. However, both the countries need to formulate new mechanism to enhance the mutual relationship and cooperation. India and Tajikistan should continue a comprehensive dialogue and cooperation programmes on all aspects of mutual concern and benefits. A regular intense dialogue between the leaderships of India and Tajikistan could help forge closer understanding and cooperation between the two.
Dr Nivedita Das Kundu, is a Research Fellow at Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi. 30 July 2010