New Delhi: The Dushanbe-Chortut Highway Project being undertaken by India in Tajikistan is nearing completion, the government informed Parliament on Thursday.
India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is constructing the 4.44 km eight-lane (two-way) highway, which will decongest the country’s capital, under the USD 20 million grant announced during the state visit of the President of India to Tajikistan in October 2018.
“The project has achieved 90.57 per cent physical progress as on 12th December 2022, ” Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan told Rajya Sabha in reply to a question on India’s development cooperation with Central Asian countries.
In March 2021, immediately after the touchdown in the Tajikistan capital, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited the Dushanbe-Chortut Highway Project site to take stock of the construction progress.
A few months later, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also visited the BRO project site while on a three-day visit to Tajikistan.
In Parliament on Thursday, Muraleedharan spotlighted that the Narendra Modi government is supporting infrastructure development projects in various Central Asian countries.
“The nature of our development partnership and economic cooperation are not comparable with any country in the region. India’s investments and development projects are based on the development priorities of a recipient country and these stand firmly on their own merits, ” he stated.
In Uzbekistan, for instance, the Indian government-supported Line of Credit of USD 448 million for social infrastructure and other development projects, is helping in equipping secondary schools in Syrdarya region with computers and in the creation and getting equipment for a new reference laboratory at the Republican Scientific Specialized Allergological Centre.
India is also committed to a strong development partnership with strategic partner Uzbekistan, having assigned a Line of Credit of US$ 40 million for the procurement of defence equipment from India.
Last year, during his visit to Bishkek, EAM Jaishankar announced a USD 200 million Line of Credit to the government of Kyrgyzstan taking the historical and civilisational bond shared by the two countries to a new height.
India is providing similar LoCs to other Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. New Delhi is also batting extensively for improving the land-locked region’s connectivity with the outside world through the Chabahar port in Iran and integrating it within the framework of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
Unlike China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), India has maintained its longstanding and consistent position on connectivity projects respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries, a stand that has been endorsed by the Central Asian countries.
“The participants agreed that connectivity initiatives should be based on the principles of transparency, broad participation, local priorities, financial sustainability, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, ” mentioned the joint communique released after the First India-Central Asia Meeting of NSAs/Secretaries of the Security Councils chaired by National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval in New Delhi earlier this month.