Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of India were established in 24 August, 1992, almost one year after the independence of Tajikistan.
In May 1994, India opened its diplomatic mission in Dushanbe and Tajikistan opened its embassy in New Delhi in June 2003.
So far, the President of Tajikistan visited India six times, three of which were Official (1993, 1995, 2001) and three – State Visits (2006, 2012, 2016).
In 2003 Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee paid an Official Visit to Tajikistan. In 2009 President Pratibha Devisingh Patil paid an Official Visit to Tajikistan. In 2013 Vice-President of India Muhammad Hamis Ansari was in Tajikistan with an Official Visit. The last high dignitary visit was State Visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dushanbe on July 13-14, 2015.
Another important ones among mutual visits are the official visit of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The first official visit by the Minister of External Affairs of India SM Krishna to Tajikistan took place in July 2012, while Tajik Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. S. Aslov paid the first official visit to India in May 2015. Last visit by Indian External Affairs to Dushanbe took place on September 2014 for participation in SCO Head of States’ Summit, during which Smt. Shuma Svaraj was received by the President of Tajikistan. Every Indian envoys from MEA was received by the President Rahmon during their official or working visits.
Relations between Tajikistan and India are based on a solid legal fundament, which consists of more than 60 interstate, intergovernmental, interagency documents, among them are 9 political declarations, 19 different agreements, 2 contracts, 9 protocols, 5 cooperation programs and 21 memoranda of understanding.
Trade turnover between two countries in nine months of 2016 was around 26.22 million USD, in compare with previous year declined more than 40%. Trade balance is in favour of India taking around 14.54 million. Main importing products from India are medicines, meat of bovine animals, tea and coffee, clothing accessories. Exporting products from Tajikistan to India are aluminium alloys and other ores.
Two countries have a Joint (Intergovernmental) Commission on cooperation in several fields led by the Ministries of economy and trade, which holds its meetings biennially. This commission reviews the existing level of cooperation at different levels related to economy, trade, industry, science, culture and etc. fields and determines next steps for further development of cooperation. The 9th session of Joint Commission was held in New Delhi on 16 June 2017.
There is also a political consultations mechanism between foreign offices of two countries. These consultations are conducted annually. Last meeting took place in Dushanbe in November 2016, Indian delegation was headed by Secretary West Sujatha Metha. Two sides considered a wide range of issues, including State Visit of the President of Tajikistan to India in December 2016, political, military, regional security, economy, energy, culture and science, consular matters as well as collaboration in international arenas.
The two countries have a joint working group on counter-terrorism, which is more like a platform for opinion sharing on current counter-terrorism affairs. In fact, the ties between India and Tajikistan on fighting terrorism deepened in the late 1990s. The ties have grown stronger since 2002, especially on counter-terrorism and defense co-operation.
India is in the process of rehabilitation, or one may say, reconstruction of Ayni airfield, which is near the Capital. Construction works are almost completed.
Another project in the field of defense is Friendship Hospital in Khuroson district (in the south), which was inaugurated by the President of the country in October 2014. This hospital is not only for military personnel, but also provides services for local population. India provided some helicopters to Tajikistan as well.
India provides training/educational support to Tajik Army. Number of Tajik military cadets and young officers have been trained in long-term and short-term training courses at National Defence Academy in Pune, Indian Military Academy in Dehradun and other training establishments. The first batch of Tajik officers graduating out of NDA and IMA returned to Tajikistan in June 2007.
The so called “second truck” collaborations do exist between the two countries. Collaboration between researchers and scholars from India and Tajikistan on various issues, particularly regional security continues and several meetings and conferences are being held annually.
India Government implemented a number of civilian projects in a form of development assistance, among which are fruit processing factory (nearby Dushanbe), rehabilitation of Varzob-1 hydro power plant, mechanical laboratory renovation in Tajik Technical University, Centre of Information and Technology in Dushanbe, …
The CHL Hotel Group of India’s investment can be called the best example of Indian investment project in Tajikistan. The Group constructed Sheraton Dushanbe (5-star hotel), which was solemnly inaugurated by the President of Tajikistan last year on the eve of Independence Day – National Holiday, in September and it is fully functioning.
Agriculture in Tajikistan, as in India, is the main economic sector. Tajikistan occupies a prominent place in the world for the production of dried fruits, growing fresh vegetables and fruits, cotton, and legumes. By applying innovative technology and rich experience of Indian enterprises to grow cotton in Tajikistan can boost the mutual cooperation between the two countries.
Education and training are in the spotlight of bilateral relations. In 2013, during the Official Visit of Vice-President of India Hamid Ansari, Indian Government announced/pledged one super computer for Tajik Technical University – the most advanced university in IT technologies in the country.
ITEC is providing 150 scholarships for Tajik students and trainees annually, which is unique in compare with other countries of the region.
Cultural cooperation between the two countries remains at an excellent level of regular of cultural troupes. However, there is plenty room to strengthen or to increase this cooperation. In developing cultural relations the efforts of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) should be mentioned, particularly. ICCR is also providing support for cultural exchange between the two countries, it finances tours of Tajik national musical troupes to India, participating in several cultural events.
The shrine of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani in Kulob – Southern Tajikistan is a testimony to rich legacy between two countries and is seen by Indians Muslims, particularly from Kashmir as pilgrimage spot.
In 2015 on the occasion of 700th Anniversary of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani the Embassy of Tajikistan to India hosted two Seminars in New Delhi and Kashmir with the participation of scholars and professors in the field of science and literature and representatives of diplomatic missions in India.
Tajikistan’s initiative to restore the monument to Indian’s great poet of the 18th century Mirza Abdulqadir Bedil whose work during the centuries promoted friendship between peoples in the vast region. Not mentioning the importance of Amir Khusrav Dehlavi for both Tajiks and Indians.
India remains not only a brotherly country for Tajikistan with common historical and cultural roots, but also as a geo-strategically important nation, rich in natural and human resources. The two countries share common views on many important issues of international relations agenda. India supported and always been supporting international initiatives of Tajikistan in UN arena, while its side Tajikistan supporting international initiates of India.