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Sitharaman holds talks with Tajik Defence Minister

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Tajik counterpart Lieutenant General Sherali Mirzo on Thursday held extensive talks, exploring ways to deepen bilateral defence and strategic cooperation, besides delving into the regional security situation.

A range of issues of mutual interests as well as ways to boost defence and security cooperation were discussed in the meeting, officials said.

Tajikistan shares a 1,400 km-long porus border with Afghanistan and has immense geo-strategic significance for India which has been providing military assistance to it, including supply of helicopters as part of counter-terrorism cooperation.

India has also developed the Ayni airbase near the Tajik capital Dushanbe, which provided it a foothold in the Central Asian region.

The two countries have a joint working group on counter- terrorism and both sides have been making efforts to further broaden cooperation to contain the menace.

The diplomatic ties between the two countries also have witnessed steady progress in the last few years.

India had earlier also built a hospital in Farkhor in Tajikistan in the late 90s on the Tajik-Afghan border to treat the wounded Northern Alliance fighters battling against the then ruling Taliban regime.

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