India to ask for a lease of Ayni airbase from Tajikistan

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be asking Tajikistan for a lease of Ayni airbase which was formely used by Soviet Russia that was refurbished by India in 2007.

The use of Ayni Airbase by the Indian Air Force tops the agenda of discussions with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Tajikistan in final leg of his visit to Central Asian countries.

The airbase is seen as a key strategic point to expand India’s footprint in Central Asia. The airbase was refurbished in 2007 but fighters and helicopters could not be deployed due to Russian pressure.

The requirement of an airbase was felt in the aftermath of the hijacking of IC-814 of the Indian Airlines to Kandahar. It was discovered that India has no access to Afghanistan. Tajikistan shares 1,400 km land border with Tajikistan.

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