‘Friendship hospital’ to come up in Tajikistan
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Almost a decade after the famous military field hospital at Farkhor on the Tajik-Afghan border was shut down, India and Tajikistan on Monday agreed to set up a new hospital in southern part of the country — to treat military personnel and civilians.
The decision is guided by the uncertain security situation in Afghanistan and the fact that Tajiks are fighting a daily battle on its southern border against terrorist groups — considered hostile to Indian interests too.
After the hour-long talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the visiting President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emamoli Rahmon here, the two sides said they agreed to set up an "India-Tajik Friendship Hospital" in Tajikistan.
The location is not being disclosed now, but the hospital will not be at Farkhor, it is learnt. Unlike the Farkhor hospital, which was set up to service the Northern Alliance troops fighting the Taliban, this hospital will cater to both military and civilians.
India had earlier approached the Tajik authorities to re-establish the field hospital at Farkhor, where Afghanistan's political and military leader Ahmed Shah Massoud was taken after being shot in 2001.
The move to set up this "friendship hospital" follows today's decision to elevate the bilateral relations to a "strategic partnership", as both countries have common concerns on terrorism.
At the joint press conference, Singh said, "India and Tajikistan have common concerns regarding regional developments. President Rahmon and I exchanged views on the situation in the Central Asian region and beyond, particularly in the context of the security transition in Afghanistan."
They expressed satisfaction over the continuing expansion of defence cooperation and hoped this would contribute to regional security and stability. The Tajik side expressed gratitude for India's assistance in defence capacity building and infrastructure and welcomed New Delhi's contribution in this strategic sector of cooperation — this was conveyed in the context of Delhi's help in renovating and upgrading the Ayni air base, a military asset outside India.
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