India-Turkmenistan Deep Civilisational and Cultural Ties


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan on July 10 from Russia after attending BRICS and SCO summits

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan on July 10 from Russia after attending BRICS and SCO summits. Modi’s Turkmenistan pit-stop is the third of the five-nation Central Asia tour.

During the visit the prime minister had “extensive discussions” with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues ranging from diplomatic, defence and security, economic, connectivity, human resource development etc.

“Our long standing and deep-rooted civilisational and cultural ties are well known,” Modi said in his press statement. “India attaches great importance to this relationship. There is enormous potential for cooperation between India, a nation of 1.25 billion people with a large and rapidly growing economy, and Turkmenistan, a nation rich in resources.”

Two bilateral agreements for cooperation in defence, sports and science and technology (S&T); and four MoUs for cooperation in the field of chemicals and fertilisers, yoga and traditional medicine, tourism and exchange programme of Foreign Service officers were signed by India and Turkmenistan.

Lauding the success of the 5th Turkmen-India Intergovernmental Joint Commission meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation held in Ashgabat on April 8, 2015, Prime Minister Modi and President Berdimuhamedov noted in a joint statement that “the commission had identified new and potential areas of cooperation and called for effective implementation of the decisions made at the meeting.”

“The most significant initiative in our relationship is the TAPI Gas Pipeline,” Modi said, and added that the project could transform regional economic cooperation and bring prosperity along the route. “We underlined the need to implement the project quickly.”

The two leaders welcomed the defence cooperation agreement signed during the visit and hoped that the agreement would “provide a framework for intensifying bilateral defence and security cooperation through exchanges of high and mid-level visits, training and dialogue between the Ministries of Defence of the two countries and other relevant organizations.”

The two countries also “resolved to increase cooperation in various sectors and identified energy, petrochemicals, transport, communications, information and technology, textile industry, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, construction and agro-processing as potential areas for cooperation between the two countries.” In this regard, the two sides agreed to involve private companies of both the countries.

President Berdimuhamedov appreciated India’s efforts in promoting International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for transportation of goods between India and Central Asia, including Turkmenistan and beyond, and said that his country would consider becoming party to INSTC. Prime Minister Modi said that the recently inaugurated Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan- Iran railway line could be a linked corridor of the INSTC to streamline movement of goods and commodities between India and Turkmenistan and beyond.

On international multilateral cooperation the two sides “acknowledged the urgent need for reform of the United Nations Security Council in the context of strengthening and expanding the role of the United Nations in addressing the pressing contemporary challenges.”

The two leaders agreed that the visit has helped consolidate and deepen the longstanding cordial relations and reaffirmed their commitment to work closely on issues discussed and agreed during their official talks.

During the visit Modi also unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi where the Times of India quoted him saying: “The world has two biggest problems today. One is terrorism and the second is climate change. The solution to both these problems can be found in Mahatama Gandhi’s life and his ideals.”

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