Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has arrived in Dushanbe for talks with Tajik authorities.

Citing the Russian Ministry’s press service, RIA Novosti says that he is conducting negotiations with his Tajik counterpart Sherali Mirzo today to discuss issues related to modernization of the armed forces of Tajikistan and functioning of the Russian military base in Tajikistan. 

Similar issues will be discussed at a meeting of Russian defense minister with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Ms. Rossiyana Markovskaya, a spokeswoman for the Russian Defense Ministry, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

The Russian military base deployed in Tajikistan is Russia's largest non-naval military facility outside the country.  It was officially opened in Tajikistan in 2004 under a previous agreement, which was signed in 1993, and hosts Russia’s largest military contingent deployed abroad.

A total of some 7,000 Russian troops are now stationed at two military facilities collectively known as the 201st military base - in Dushanbe and Bokhtar (formerly Qurghon Teppa, some 100 kilometers from Dushanbe.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry’s website says Sergei Shoigu in late April visited the Russian Kant military base in Kyrgyzstan.  On April 29, he stated during a meeting with the Chief of the General Staff of the Kyrgyz Armed Forces Rayimberdi Duishenbiyev that expansion of the Russian-Kyrgyz cooperation is a key factor in preserving regional stability. 

Russian defense minister reportedly presented Kyrgyzstan with two Mi-8MT multi-purpose helicopters and nine BRDM-2M armored reconnaissance and patrol vehicles.

According to Sergei Shoigu, the Kant air base is the main element of the CSTO Collective Rapid Reaction Forces, and it is intended to thwart military aggression and carry out counter-terrorism missions.