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Russian Minister Says Russia, India May Share Tajik Airfield

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov (file photo) (epa) 6 December 2006 -- Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov says he does not rule out the possibility that Russia and India could jointly use a military airfield in Tajikistan.

Ivanov, after talks on 5 December in Moscow with visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said the Russian and Tajik governments are negotiating on the question of the use of the Aini airfield outside the Tajik capital Dushanbe.

No response on the matter was immediately available from the Tajik government.

India has reportedly been involved in efforts to help fund and provide experts to upgrade the Aini airfield, which is due to open next year.

Ivanov said Russian helicopters and a squadron of military planes are expected to be deployed at the airfield.

(Interfax/ITAR-TASS/RFE/RL's Tajik Service)