India on Saturday firmly reiterated that it will continue to work for the development and stability of Central Asia even as it vowed to work with Turkmenistan to address the challenges of cross-border terrorism, fundamentalism and extremism faced by the resource-rich region. On a three-day visit to Turkmenistan, Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari stressed the bond between the two nations has grown stronger in the contemporary times.
Addressing a conference here on neutrality to mark the the 20th anniversary of adoption of the status of ‘Permanent Neutrality’ by Turkmenistan, the Vice President of India said that Turkmenistan’s commitment to permanent neutrality has remarkable similarities with the overall approach of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) — preservation of world peace and security.
“During the recent visit of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Turkmenistan, we reiterated our vision for a shared future,” VP Ansari said.
“Tomorrow, we will flag-off the Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, which we both recognise to be a ‘key pillar’ of our economic engagement and which is in consonance with the particular emphasis that Turkmenistan puts on the economic aspect of neutrality,” he said.
Among the feature of his visit to Turkmenistan would be his participation in the ceremony of the ambitious USD 7.6 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline in the ancient city of Mary, some 311 km from the Turkmenistan capital city Ashgabat.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, along with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow will also be present during the ceremony.
“India wishes the Turkmen people and government further success in their policy of neutrality as we work together to address the challenges of cross border terrorism, fundamentalism and extremism. We will be your true partners in your striving for regional and global peace and sustainable development,” the Vice President added.
Vice President Ansari further emphasised that India remains committed to supporting its “Turkmen friends” by deepening cooperation in “strategic, economic, cultural, humanitarian, scientific and educational spheres”.
Recalling the historical links between the two nations, he said most revered Turkmen poet Magtymguly Pyragy (Makhtumqoli Faraghi) yearned to visit India and his love for Indian people is reflected in his poems.
The event was attended by leaders of 20 nations, including Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
(With inputs from the PTI)