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India, Tajikistan to boost military cooperation

Reuters

Posted: Apr 27, 2002 at 1131 hrs IST

Tajikistan and India will reinforce their military cooperation following Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes' two-day visit in Dushanbe, Tajik defence officials has said.

India could help Tajikistan modernise its main military airport near Dushanbe and acquire new military aircraft, officials said. Fernandes, who left Dushanbe on Friday, met with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov, Prime Minister Akil Akipov and Defence Minister General Sherapi Khairullayev.

Their talks focused on the fight against terrorism, regional security and military cooperation, said defence military spokesman Zarobiddin Sirodzhev. A high-ranking Indian military delegation visited Dushanbe in February.

In December, during a visit by Khairullayev to New Delhi, the two countries signed a protocol on military-technical cooperation and exchanges of information in the fight against international terrorism and separatism.

Both Russian allies, Tajikistan and India backed the Tajik-dominated Northern Alliance in Afghanistan during last year's defeat of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime. Both India and Tajikistan support the anti-terrorist coalition and Dushanbe has lent discreet support to the US-led military campaign in Central Asia.

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