His Excellency Mr President,
Members of the media,
It is a great pleasure to visit Turkmenistan. I am also delighted to see Ashgabat. It stands on a once thriving trade route since ancient times. It is now a beautiful ‘Ak Shaharim’ or the White City. It reflects your great vision and the nation’s prosperity.
Mr. President, I am very grateful to you and the people of Turkmenistan for a very warm welcome and generous hospitality.
Our long standing and deep-rooted civilisational and cultural ties are well known. It has created a sense of familiarity and goodwill between our people. It is a strong foundation of close relations between our two countries.
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.
As India deepens its relations with Central Asia, Turkmenistan will play a crucial role in it.
We have shared interests in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and Central Asia. We also have common purpose in combating terrorism and extremism in our region.
Connecting South and Central Asia will open up new economic opportunities in our region and beyond.
I thank Mr. President for sharing this vision and for his strong support to the relationship.
The most significant initiative in our relationship is the TAPI Gas Pipeline. This could transform regional economic cooperation and bring prosperity along the route. We welcomed the agreements between the four countries for the pipeline. We underlined the need to implement the project quickly.
I also proposed to President that we should explore multiple options, including the additional possibility of land-sea route through Iran.
I conveyed our interest in long term investment in the energy sector in Turkmenistan. We welcome the decision by ONGC Videsh Limited to open an office in Ashgabat.
We had a very positive discussion on India’s interest in investment in downstream industries, including petrochemicals and fertilizer. The Memorandum of Understanding in the fertilizer sector will enable long term arrangements for supply of fertilizers from here to India.
Connectivity is an area of priority for both countries. If we use the Iran route, Ashgabat is the first capital we would reach in Central Asia.
We are grateful for Turkmenistan’s support to India joining the Ashgabat Agreement on trade and transit. I have also proposed that Turkmenistan becomes a member of the International North South Transport Corridor.
Together with the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link, and India’s proposed investment in Chahbahar Port in Iran, these initiatives will strengthen connectivity between our countries.
Training and human resource development is an important area of cooperation. India will enhance its training scholarship programme. I welcome the upgrading of the Turkmen India Industrial Training Institute in Ashgabat.
The agreements on sports and tourism will deepen the contacts between our people.
Later today, I will have the pleasure of unveiling the bust of Mahatma Gandhi. It will be a reminder of our shared commitment to the cause of a peaceful, inclusive and a just world.
I am looking forward to the inauguration of the Centre of Yoga and Traditional Medicines. It is a tribute to our cultural links. It also gives us opportunities to revive our very old tradition of fruitful cooperation in traditional medicines. I also proposed to him that Ashgabat could be developed as an International Centre for Holistic Healthcare. I offered full support for it.
The defence agreement is a reflection of our shared interest in closer security cooperation, including in combating terrorism.
I am grateful to President and the people of Turkmenistan for the support in making the International Day of Yoga on June 21 a huge global success.
I congratulated the President on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of Permanent Neutrality by Turkmenistan. India acknowledges the contributions of this policy to peace and stability in Turkmenistan and the wider region.
Again, Mr. President, this has been a short but very productive visit. I am confident that our relationship will grow in strength in the coming years.
I look forward to receiving you in India, Mr. President, in the near future. Thank You