Skip to main content

The end of Gandhi's legacy

Gandhi Who? Ahimsa?

India flexes its muscles with first foreign military base
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow
Wednesday April 26, 2006


India is to open its first overseas military base this year in the impoverished central Asian country of Tajikistan - a testament to its emerging status on the world stage.

The Indian air force will station up to two squadrons of MiG-29s at the refurbished former Soviet airbase of Farkhor more than 60 miles from the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, Jane's Defence Weekly said, citing defence officials. A control tower is already in place, Indian media reported.

The Indian army had a military hospital there from 1997 to 2001, where it treated Northern Alliance guerrillas fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The 12 Russian built MiG-29s will be staffed by about 40 personnel and use two aircraft hangars, Jane's said. The base's third hangar will be used by the Tajik air force which is also being trained by the Indians.

Tajik officials would not comment on the reports. Igor Sattorov, spokesman for the Tajik foreign ministry, said: "I can neither deny nor confirm this information. Let's be cautious about this."

India will become the fourth economic power to compete for influence in central Asia. Russia has a military base in Tajikistan and one in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. The US also has a base in Kyrgyzstan and Germany has a base at Termez, in southern Uzbekistan, both of which are used to assist operations in Afghanistan.

India has stepped up its activity in central Asia, eager to gain access to its gas supplies. Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, is expected to meet with Uzbekistan's president, Islam Karimov, during a visit to the capital, Tashkent, which began yesterday.

Mr Karimov has become an international pariah since his troops shot dead hundreds of protesters in the southern town of Andijan a year ago, and Mr Singh's critics will seize upon the visit as an unprincipled play for oil. India currently needs 1.9m barrels of oil a day, but this is forecast to rise to 4m by 2010.


Popular posts from this blog

Arundhati Roy: The 2004 Sydney Peace Prize lecture

The 2004 Sydney Peace Prize lecture delivered by Arundhati Roy, at the Seymour Theatre Centre, University of Sydney.

Peace & The New Corporate Liberation Theology

It's official now. The Sydney Peace Foundation is neck deep in the business of gambling and calculated risk. Last year, very courageously, it chose Dr Hanan Ashrawi of Palestine for the Sydney Peace Prize. And, as if that were not enough, this year - of all the people in the world - it goes and chooses me!

However I'd like to make a complaint. My sources inform me that Dr Ashrawi had a picket all to herself. This is discriminatory. I demand equal treatment for all Peace Prizees. May I formally request the Foundation to organize a picket against me after the lecture? From what I've heard, it shouldn't be hard to organize. If this is insufficient notice, then tomorrow will suit me just as well.

When this year's Sydney Peace Prize was announced, I was subjected to some pretty arch remarks from those who k…

Thirst for blood and oil

There is a war going on in the Middle East; one in Iraq and the other in Lebanon. It is a war against innocent civilian population, played out by faceless enemies of humanity. Is it only a war in the name of religion, gods, and land? It is also a war in the name of black gold – OIL!

The United States and Britain are only too happy to occupy Iraq and see various parts of it blow up. Iraq's sin is that it has a lot of Oil. But, then, Iraqis are not enough educated and sophisticated people to understand that no one really cares about whether it is Shia oil or Sunni oil. It is a crying shame that Iraqis kill each other in the name of the two factions of Islam – again their only reason for killing is to set the supremacy – and to gain power. Saddam knew too well that Oil was more powerful than anything else in today's world. And Oil is the very reason why he was toppled and put behind bars. It wasn't Saddam's Human Rights violations that the Western governments were too con…