An official ceremony of handover of new tanks to Russian 201st military base deployed in Tajikistan took place on December 9.  

A batch of 30 upgraded T-72B3M tanks with improved combat characteristics has reportedly arrived to rearm the 201st Russian military base.

The press center of Russia’s Central Military District (CMD) said Thursday that the upgraded tanks will take part in 40 diverse drills.

“In the winter training period, the Russian tank crews will be retrained to operate new combat hardware and hold driving and firing classes,” the CMD press center said, noting that the new tanks are also scheduled to participate in at least 40 diverse drills, in particular, with other units of the military facility. 

Central Military District Commander, Colonel-General Alexander Lapin, said earlier that three motor rifle battalions of the 201st military base had been rearmed with new combat hardware.

Recall, three motor rifle battalions of the military base received a batch of advanced BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, cutting-edge Verba man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled infantry flamethrowers of longer range and higher power, Kornet anti-tank guided missiles, 12.7mm ASVK-M Kord sniper rifles, AK-12 rifles, Linza sanitary armored cars, and the equipment of rear and technical services in October. 

It is to be noted that the possibility of Islamist militants in Afghanistan infiltrating Tajikistan and other Central Asia’s nations is a worry for Russia, which views the region as a defensive buffer to its south.

Russia has held large-scale joint military exercises with its allies near the Tajik-Afghan border in recent months.  

The Russian military base deployed in Tajikistan is subordinate to the Central Military District.  It 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.