Friday, May 27, 2022

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A lookback: Celebrating India-Turkmenistan ties

India enjoys an enhanced mutually beneficial partnership with Turkmenistan and the ‘Turkman Gate’ built in Delhi in the 1650s bears testimony to this friendship. Regular exchange of high-level political visits has provided sustained momentum to this partnership.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Turkmenistan in the year 2015. During the high-level visit, both sides decided to step up cooperation in the levels of bilateral trade, investment, and economic cooperation.

India to hold first India-Central Asia Summit:

In a major push towards its extended neighborhood policy, India will host the first meeting of the India-Central Asia Summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will, be hosting the first of its kind engagement between India and Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) in a virtual format on January 27, 2022.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, during the first India-Central Asia Summit, the leaders are expected to discuss steps to take forward India-Central Asia relations to newer heights. During the high-level meeting, the leaders are expected to discuss the evolving regional security situation in the context of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

Trade & Commercial Relations:

According to the government data, total trade for the year 2019-20 (upto December 2019) between India and Turkmenistan stood at US$29.97 million. Exports from India stood at US$26.40 million and Imports by India at US$3.57 million registering a surplus of US$22.83 million in India’s favour, the data further showed.

Electronic and electrical items, machinery and woven apparel and pharmaceuticals, frozen meat are among the most common items imported from India.

While, items exported to India from Turkmenistan comprise fertilizers, cotton, raw hides, and inorganic chemicals (e.g. Sulpher, Iodine). Turkmenistan produces cotton, wheat, rice, and a variety of vegetables and fruits. However, during PM Modi’s visit to Turkmenistan in 2015, both the leaders noted that the trade volumes between the two countries could potentially be increased manifold to the mutual benefit of both countries.

During the visit, the leaders agreed to increase cooperation in various sectors including, petrochemicals, transport, communications, information and technology, textile industry, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, construction, and agro-processing.

Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project:

The TAPI pipeline project forms a key pillar of economic engagement between the two countries.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, on 13 November, 2014, the four-state gas companies of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India established a company that will build, own, and operate the planned 1,800-kilometer Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline.

Recently, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar exchanged views with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredovon over the implementation of the TAPI gas pipeline project, emphasizing the need to intensify work at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

Cooperation in the field of Disaster Management:

Strengthening the cooperation in the field of Disaster Management, recently the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between India and Turkmenistan.

The MoU seeks to bolster the ties whereby India and Turkmenistan will be benefited from the Disaster Management mechanism of each other.

“It will help in strengthening the areas of preparedness, response, and capacity building in the field of Disaster Management, the Ministry of External Affairs stated.

A Hindi Connection:

Hindi one of the most spoken and recognized languages in India, holds a special place in the hearts of Turkmen people. Hindi is being taught to university students in Turkmenistan, following the establishment of the Hindi Chair in the year 2015 in Azadi Institute of World languages, Ashgabat. Also, ‘Vishwa Hindi Diwas’ is celebrated in Turkmenistan every year.

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