Ashgabat, Apr 2 (PTI) President Ram Nath Kovind wished for peace, progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Turkmenistan at a banquet hosted by his counterpart Serdar Berdimuhamedov here on Saturday, hoping that the enduring partnership between the two countries will continue to grow.
The president thanked President Serdar Berdimuhamedov for the “warm welcome” to him and his delegation.
“I am particularly touched by your gesture of coming personally to receive me at the airport yesterday. This is not only my first visit to your beautiful country but also the first ever visit by a President of India to Ashgabat. I am truly mesmerised by the beauty of your ‘white marble city’,” he said.
This is the first-ever visit of the President of India to independent Turkmenistan and comes just after the inauguration of new Turkmen President Berdimuhamedov, 40.
“Please accept my hearty congratulations once again on your election as the President of Turkmenistan. Your election to this high-office at such a young age testifies to the high level of trust and confidence of the Turkmen people in your leadership,” Kovind said at the dinner held at the Oguzkhan Presidential Palace.
“Over the last 15 years, Turkmenistan has achieved growth and development under the wise leadership of your father H.E.Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. I am confident that your leadership will take the country to newer heights,” the president said.
Kovind touched upon the millennia-old historical and cultural connection between the two countries.
“India-Turkmenistan historical and cultural ties go back to several millennia. The relics of “Soma” drink found in Gonur Depe, Buddhist manuscripts and coins excavated from Merv and the Turkman Gate in Delhi built in memory of the Sufi saint Shah Turkmen Bayabani are abiding examples of our age-old linkages.
“I was reminded of these ties today when I interacted with some Turkmeni nationals who were very fluent in Hindi language,” Kovind said as he commended the work done by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and ITEC :Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation here.
“It is a matter of pride that Turkmen people greatly admire Indian films, dance, music, Yoga and Ayurveda. I hope that the new Programme of Cooperation in the field of Culture signed today will pave the way for further intensifying bilateral cultural exchanges,” the president said.
Earlier on Saturday, India and Turkmenistan signed four agreements, including in financial intelligence and disaster management, as Kovind and Berdimuhamedov, during a meeting, agreed to expand bilateral trade and energy cooperation.
The two leaders highlighted the significance of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the Ashgabat Agreement on International Transport and Transit Corridor.
Turkmenistan is endowed with abundant natural resources and is strategically located at the cross-roads of Central Asia and Persian Gulf. Chabahar Port in Iran could be the fulcrum that enhances connectivity between Central and South Asia, Kovind said at the dinner.
Kovind also appreciated the efforts of the Turkmenistan government to promote Yoga.
“As Turkmenistan embarks on a new era of development, India stands ready to partner and support you on this journey,” he said.
“I extend my warm wishes for: The good health, success and well-being of President Serdar Beridmuhamedov, the peace, progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Turkmenistan, the enduring partnership between India and Turkmenistan,” Kovind said concluding his banquet address.
Separately, the Indian Embassy in Ashgabat tweeted: “Hon’ble Rashtrapatiji met and addressed the ITEC / ICCR / Hindi alumni from Turkmenistan at Hotel Yyldyz. He mentioned that education and training the alumni obtained through ITEC programme, ICCR scholarship and Hindi studies would help them further their career.” Later in a series of tweets, President Kovind’s twitter handle expressed satisfaction at his Turkmenistan visit.
“I am happy to learn that as a result of India’s efforts, Turkmenistan now has many people who can converse fluently in Hindi,” the account wrote.
“Every year, we offer around 20 scholarships to students from Turkmenistan and so far more than 300 Turkmen students have been supported by ICCR under its Cultural Exchange Programme and General Scholarship Scheme.
“In the 5-6 decades of its existence, the ITEC programme has trained over 200,000 persons from over 161 countries including Turkmenistan,” read another tweet.
President Kovind said: “India and Turkmenistan share historical and civilizational linkages. India considers Turkmenistan as part of its extended neighbourhood. We were one of the first countries to recognize Turkmenistan’s independence in 1991 and establish formal diplomatic relations in 1992.” Turkmenistan is an important partner for India in the India-Central Asia Summit framework, the first of which India hosted virtually in January this year. PTI IND AKJ IND
This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.
Source: The Print