India, Tajikistan to step up anti-terror and defence cooperation


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tajikistan President Emomalih Rahmon  during the joint statement at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI Photo

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tajikistan President Emomalih Rahmon during the joint statement at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI Photo

On Saturday India and Tajikistan decided to strengthen their defence cooperation and inked a pact to share financial intelligence to counter money laundering and financing of terrorism.

The pacts were signed after comprehensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on strategic issues including threats posed by radicalisation and extremism, trade and investments.

“We assessed the broad progress achieved under different pillars of our bilateral engagement, including our partnership in defence and security….India and Tajikistan live in an extended neighbourhood that continues to face multiple security challenges and threats. The threat from terrorism endangers not just our two countries. It casts a long shadow of violence and instability
over the entire region,” PM Modi said at a joint press meet with President Rahmon.

Combating terrorism has, therefore, been an important area of cooperative engagement between the two countries, the PM said.

“We appreciate Tajikistan’s role in the Central Asian region as a mainstay against forces of extremism, radicalism, and terrorism. President Rahmon and I agreed today to strengthen action on this front based on mutually agreed priorities,” he added.

On his part, Rahmon said terrorism and extremism undermine all developmental efforts worldwide. A joint statement issued after the talks said the two leaders discussed situation in the region and stressed that terrorism and extremism seriously threaten peace, stability and progress of all countries.

“The two leaders agreed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations must be eliminated without any distinction between good and bad terrorists and called for an end to sponsorship, support and provision of safe havens and sanctuaries to terrorists,” the statement said.

Modi and Rahmon reaffirmed their resolve to work for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN General Assembly.

Apart from MoU concerning Cooperation in the Exchange of Financial Intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and financing of terrorism, the two sides also inked pacts on broadcasting of audio visual programmes and protocol amending the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion and announced initialling of document on Bilateral Investment Treaty.

On further deepening of security cooperation, the Prime Minister said this will be done on multiple levels – through reinforcing overall bilateral security cooperation, through greater training, capacity building and information exchanges and through active coordination in regional and multilateral contexts.

India’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will also be a valuable platform to work closely on regional security and counter-terrorism efforts with Tajikistan, he said.

Describing Tajikistan as “valued friend and strategic partner in Asia”, PM Modi said they have also agreed on the need to increase the scope and scale of our economic engagement, especially trade and investment traffic including in hydel- power and Information Technology.

Agreeing that peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan are important for the region, the two countries are joined in steadfast support of the Afghan people and their aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous nation, he added.

“India supports initiatives to develop the existing port and transport infrastructure and connecting it through road and rail network to Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Central Asia….In this respect, we will work to build trade and transit links through Chahbahar port in Iran. India is also engaged in facilitating the International North South Transport Corridor with other members, including Tajikistan. Our planned accession to the Ashgabat Agreement will further help in linking us to Tajikistan and Central Asia,” the Prime Minister said.