Ayni Air Base


Ayni Air Force Base, also known as Gissar Air Base, is a military air base in Tajikistan, just 10 km west of the capital Dushanbe.During the Cold War era, Ayni served as a major military base of the Soviet Union. However, following Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the base s infrastructure deteriorated significantly. Between 2002 and 2010, India spent nearly US$70 million to renovate the air base — the runway was extended to 3,200 meters and state-of-the-art navigational and air defense equipment were installed. It was speculated by some media outlets that India was keen on establishing a military base in Ayni so as to gain a strategic foothold in Central Asia.In January 2011, Tajik Foreign Minister, Hamrohan Zarifi, officially launched negotiations with Russia to discuss possible deployment of Russian military at Ayni. Zarifi also ruled out deployment of Indian or American forces at Ayni.HistoryReports began circulating in early 2000s that India would establish air bases at Ayni and Farkhor in Tajikistan. Both Indian and Tajik officials issued immediate denials, but they did admit that India had been renovating the bases since 2002. India eventually did establish itself at Farkhor, but not Ayni. When fully operational, the Indian base was expected to host 12 to 14 MiG-29 fighter bombers, according to various reports.Strategic location and geopolitical implicationsThe Indian military presence in Tajikistan gives India the required depth and range in required for its large role in South Asia and is a tangible manifestation of India’s move to project its power in Central Asia, a policy goal formally enunciated in 2003–2004.


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Gissar Air Base
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