India and Tajikistan to boost energy ties

Aug 08, 2006 02:00 AM

India raised its stakes in Central Asia by accelerating its multi-faceted diplomatic engagement with Tajikistan, a resource-rich country in the strategic region, by signing five documents spanning energy security, trade, science and technology and culture.
India and Tajikistan also reiterated their resolve to jointly fight the unholy trinity of terrorism, extremism and separatism that plague Central and South Asia, and backed the establishment of "a strong and prosperous Afghanistan" as the key to lasting stability in the region.

"The present visit marks the strengthening of India-Tajikistan relations, opens up new prospects for deepening mutual understanding and cooperation between the two countries and widens the basis for mutually beneficial partnership," said a joint statement signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov.
Four more documents on energy security, science and technology, cultural exchange programme and foreign office consultations were signed between the two sides in the presence of two leaders.

A memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and the Tajik Academy of Sciences will be signed soon. Taking their cooperation in energy security one step further, the two countries also agreed to study opportunities in all sectors, specially hydro energy in Tajikistan, with India offering its help to rehabilitate the Varzob 1 hydropower plant in the Central Asian country.
Manmohan Singh and Rahmonov, who is on a five-day India visit, discussed a wide array of bilateral and global issues, including terrorism, energy security, defence ties, trade and economic cooperation and the acceleration of cultural ties between the two countries.

Rahmonov expressed "outrage" at the July 11 "barbaric terrorist acts" in Mumbai and Srinagar that killed over 200 people and expressed his country's solidarity with India in the battle against terror.
"They expressed readiness to undertakeall necessary measures to bring to justice perpetrators, organizers, sponsors of terrorist acts, and those who incite the perpetrators," the joint statement said. The two leaders agreed to "closely and actively cooperate to fight the menace of terrorism and other trans-national crimes such as money laundering, drugs and arms smuggling in a sustained and comprehensive manner".

India also agreed to extend technical assistance to support Tajikistan's accession to the World Trade Organisation.
"The two countries would work for closer cooperation in the field of technology, particularly in information and communication technology, agriculture and exploration and development of mineral resources," said the joint statement. Besides Manmohan Singh, Rahmonov also met President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, United Progressive Alliance chair Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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