Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari on Friday left on a three-day visit to Turkmenistan where he will attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the ambitious USD 7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. He will also participate in events marking the 20th anniversary of the Central Asian country’s status of permanent neutrality.
The Vice President is expected to reach Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, later in the evening (local time).
He is likely to hold bilateral talks with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow in Ashgabat soon after landing in the country followed by attending the events marking the 20th anniversary of Trukmenistan’s status of permanent neutrality on Saturday. He is also accompanied by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Later in his tour, the Vice President will address an international conference on policy of neutrality, peace, security and development.
On Sunday morning, VP Hamid Anasri would fly to the ancient city of Mary which was part of the old Silk Route to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the TAPI pipeline in the presence of representatives from Pakistan and Afghanistan — the two other stakeholders in the ambitious project.
In its release, the Union External Affairs ministry said that New Delhi has a very important relationship with Ashgabat.
“It is a resource-rich country. It is a country which has tremendous resonance with India both in our outlook on regional and international relations,” Secretary (West) in the MEA Navtej Sarna said prior to VP’s visit.
“Earlier this year, we have had some very very significant developments. The External Affairs Minister visited Turkmenistan which was followed by the historic visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — a visit which took place at PM level after 30 years — and several areas of co-operation were identified,” Navtej Sarna added.
The Vice President will also pay homage at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi which was inaugurated by PM Modi early this year in the Turkmenistan capital.
(With inputs from the PTI)