ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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SOVIET CENTRAL ASIA-Challenges and New Approaches

SOVIET CENTRAL ASIA Challenges and New Approaches SNOW-CLAD mountain peaks, thick greenery dominated by tall chinar trees, plenty of rose gardens and the cool weather reminded me of Srinagar city in the Kashmir valley in our country as 1 landed in the valley city of Dushanbe, the Capital of Tadjekistan in late April of this year. Tadjekistan is one of the four Central Asian Republics of the Soviet Union where 83 per cent of the inhabitants belong to the Tadjek and Uzbek nationalities, a good part of the older generation of which still believes in Islam. At present Tadjekistan assumes greater significance than ever before on account of its long border with Afghanistan in the south. Moreover, the Persian language serves as a common base for Tadjekistan, Afghanistan and Iran which enables easy communication among the peoples. The radio station at Dushanbe, the capital of Tadjekistan, regularly broadcasts to the people of Afghanistan in the Afghan language information about the major achievements of the peoples of Soviet Central Asia in the social and economic field. The broadcast also covers news regarding freedom of religion which is being effectively exercised by people in the Soviet Central Asia. However, in the 1920s and 30s, many Tadjeks and Uzbeks were reported to have fled from the Soviet Union and settled down in Afghanistan and they stem to be keeping their identity till today. Among other considerations, the Soviet Union's interest in keeping close and friendly relations with Afghanistan stems from the fact that the Pyanj river running along the mountain border between Afghanistan and Tadjekistan has immense hydro-electric potentialities and as per initial technical estimates of the Council for the Study of Productive Forces under the Academy of Sciences of the Tadjek SSR, 13 hydro power stations could be built with a total electricity generation capacity of over 11 million kw to produce over 98 billion kwh of electricity which could serve as a strong base for the economic development of the Soviet Central Asia in the future. Apart from these factors, Tadjekistan provides an interesting case in understanding the new challenges facing the Soviets as also the complex processes involved in socio-economic development of Soviet Central Asia in the contemporary period.

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