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Joint Russian-Tajik military exercises to end


Joint Russian-Tajik military exercises to end

Screen Shot 2020 11 27 at 10 20 27 AM
Photo: AFP

Joint exercises involving the 201st Russian military base and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Tajikistan, which began on November 20, will conclude today.

This year’s exercise involved 3,000 Russian personnel and 550 pieces of military hardware and equipment, a nearly four-fold increase from previous years’ exercises. Under supervision from Russia’s Central Military District, the exercises were set against a backdrop of rising instability in Central Asia. The 201st, located in Dushanbe and Bokhtar, is Russia’s largest military base outside of its borders. Russia and Tajikistan hold annual exercises with a focus on defence against extremist groups in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Tajikistan has become a strategic battleground for influence between Russia and China. China sees the country as a critical link in its overland Belt and Road Initiative, while Putin wishes to maintain Russia’s post-Soviet sphere of influence. The scale of this year’s exercise may serve as a warning to China, declaring that the country’s future rests with Moscow. Expect China to contest Russia’s influence by holding their own Sino-Tajik joint exercises or by further developing the Chinese-led “Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism in Counter Terrorism.”

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