Several weeks ago, Tajikistan's foreign minister announced that the country was in negotiations with Russia, and no other country, about using the Ayni air base. That appeared to end years of speculation about the base, strategically located just over 100 miles from the border of Afghanistan. It was long assumed India would use the base, which would have been its first military base abroad. India had spent millions to renovate the former Soviet base's runway and facilities, but then appeared to get pushed out of the running by Russia for reasons that remain murky (in fact, everything is murky about Ayni). There was also speculation about the U.S., China, Iran or France using the base, but those always seemed like long shots. So did India just get played by the Russians and Tajiks?
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