Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), July 11 (IANS) India and Turkmenistan on Saturday identified the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project as a key pillar of energy cooperation between the two countries.
A joint statement issued after a meeting between visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and delegation-level talks between the two sides said that the leaders of the two sides “recognised that implementation of the TAPI project would have a transformational impact on trade between the two countries and decided to take measures for early implementation of this important regional project”.
“They welcomed establishment of ‘TAPI Ltd’ as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in November 2014 in Ashgabat and acknowledged that it was a milestone in implementation of this strategic project,” the statement said.
It said that the two sides also welcomed “the enhanced bilateral cooperation in the field of chemicals and petrochemicals as well as the opening of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) representative office in Turkmenistan”.
“The leaders further welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the state concern “Turkmenhimiya” and Indian PSU (public sector unit) Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited to provide a framework for long-term sourcing of urea from Turkmenistan.”
In terms of economic engagement, the two sides acknowledged that despite a steady increase in bilateral trade over the last few years, the trade volumes could potentially be increased manifold to the mutual benefit of both countries.
“Towards this end, the two leaders agreed to actively work towards rapid enhancement in the levels of bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation,” the statement said.
“The leaders 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.”
As for political and diplomatic cooperation, “the leaders noted with satisfaction the increase in high-level exchanges between the two countries in recent years and reiterated the significance of regular bilateral interactions in reinforcing the momentum for cooperation between the two countries”, the statement said.
“The leaders welcomed the successful conclusion of the 5th meeting of the Turkmen-India Intergovernmental Joint Commission on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation, held in Ashgabat on April 8, 2015,” it said.
The two countries also agreed to deepen the ongoing cooperation in countering various security threats and agreed to step up efforts against cross-border threats such as terrorism, organised crime and illegal drug-trafficking, according to the joint statement.
The two countries also signed a defence cooperation agreement during the course of Modi’s visit, which 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 organisations.
Both India and Turkmenistan reaffirmed their intention to work together in exploring alternative transport corridors for additional connectivity options between the two countries.
“The leaders acknowledged the significance of Turkmenistan as a gateway to other Central Asian countries and the Caspian region and agreed to support each other’s initiatives in enhancing transport corridors and infrastructure to facilitate movement of goods,” the statement said.
“The president of Turkmenistan appreciated the government of India’s efforts in promoting the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for transportation of goods between India and Central Asia.”
In science and technology, the two sides “appreciated the role of Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme in capacity building and human resource development of Turkmen nationals and in creating a talented pool of professionals in Turkmenistan across various sectors to meet the developmental needs of the growing Turkmen economy”.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed India’s readiness to offer new training courses in sectors desired by Government of Turkmenistan. President of Turkmenistan welcomed this proposal,” the statement said.
As for cultural cooperation, the leaders of the two countries called for finalising the Programme of Cooperation on Culture between the two countries.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the government of Turkmenistan on the 20th anniversary of adoption of Permanent Neutrality at the United Nations and noted that this policy had contributed to peace, development and stability in Turkmenistan and the region at large,” the section on international cooperation in the joint statement read.
“The leaders reiterated their commitment to strengthen regional as well as multilateral cooperation, including through enhanced interaction in the United Nations and other regional and international organizations of which they are members,” it stated.