President Ram Nath Kovind met with his Turkmen counterpart Serdar Berdimuhamedov here on Saturday and signed four agreements, including ones in financial intelligence and disaster management, to strengthen their multifaceted partnership. This is the President of India’s first visit to independent Turkmenistan, and it comes shortly after the new Turkmen President Berdimuhamedov was inaugurated.
President Kovind held a lengthy discussion with Turkmenistan’s President Berdimuhamedov today about the condition and prospects of bilateral relations, as well as exchanging opinions on a variety of regional and international issues of concern.
“We’ve agreed to step up our efforts to strengthen our multidimensional collaboration even more. Bilateral bonds are strengthened by economic relations. We committed to do more to increase bilateral trade, which has remained quite small. In a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs, the president stated, “Our business groups must increase their contact, comprehend each other’s legislation, and explore new sectors of trade and investment”
The importance of the INSTC and the Ashgabat Agreement on International Transport and Transit Corridor was emphasized by the two leaders.
President Ram Nath Kovind stated that the Chabahar port in Iran, which India developed, could be used to boost trade between India and Central Asia.
“One of the most important topics we discussed today was energy cooperation. Concerning the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, I urged that technical and expert level meetings be held to discuss topics such as pipeline security and fundamental commercial principles,” the president stated. Sanjay Verma, Secretary West in the Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday that the TAPI pipeline issue could come up during negotiations “When you consider the geography, it’s a difficult area to live in. As a result, negotiating the pipeline became a chore in and of itself.” “Thereafter, it is on record that India has some reservations about the commercial and business component of the TAPI pipeline, and that is being discussed,” he said, adding that the president’s visit will provide them another chance to “revisit where we stand” on the subject.
New Area of Corporation to Strengthen the Relation
During President Kovind’s meeting with his Turkmen counterpart, the two countries identified new areas of cooperation, including disaster management. Mr. Kovind highlighted India’s willingness to collaborate with Turkmenistan in its digitalization efforts, noting that space may be another area of mutual benefit.
“Our countries have shared civilizational and cultural ties for generations. I stressed the need of organising frequent cultural events in each other’s region during the discussions. “We emphasized the importance of close cooperation between the two countries in the appropriate control of the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected our population,” the president added. Turkmenistan is a significant partner for India in the India–Central Asia Summit, which India virtually hosted in January of this year.
“We agreed to strengthen our cooperation under the framework established by the India-Central Asia Summit,” he said.
President Kovind also expressed gratitude to Turkmenistan for its support for India’s permanent membership in a reformed and expanded United Nations Security Council, as well as India’s initiatives as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the years 2021-22.
Importance of India-Turkmenistan Relation-
The Ministry of External Affairs had previously stated that India valued its relations with Turkmenistan. “The president’s state visit would reinforce the importance we have on Turkmenistan, not only bilaterally, but also in terms of our extended neighborhood idea and position in the India-Central Asia partnership,” Mr. Verma said in New Delhi on Wednesday. Turkmenistan has significant natural gas reserves.
“Turkmenistan is also strategically located in Central Asia, and we believe that collaboration with Turkmenistan will pay off in terms of connectivity. We have extended a one-billion-dollar loan line to Central Asian countries, including Turkmenistan” Mr. Verma explained.
Following his visit to Turkmenistan, President Kovind will travel to the Netherlands for a state visit from April 4 to 7, at the request of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.