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President Kovind arrives in Turkmenistan to boost bilateral ties with key Central Asian nation

Ashgabat, Apr 1 (PTI) President Ram Nath Kovind arrived here on Friday on a three-day state visit during which he will meet his Turkmenistan counterpart Serder Berdimuhamedov and discuss ways to boost bilateral ties with the resource-rich Central Asian country.

This is the first-ever visit of the President of India to independent Turkmenistan and comes just after the inauguration of the new Turkmen President Berdimuhamedov.

“The state visit of the president will reaffirm the importance we attach to Turkmenistan, not only bilaterally but also in terms of our extended neighbourhood concept and role in India-Central Asia partnership,” Sanjay Verma, Secretary West in the MEA, told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Turkmenistan possesses very large reserves of natural gas.

“Turkmenistan is also strategically placed in Central Asia and connectivity is something on which we feel partnership with Turkmenistan will pay dividends. We have offered a line of credit worth USD 1 billion to Central Asian countries, including Turkmenistan,” Verma said.

Asked if the issue of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline could come up during talks, Verma said, “Talks are ongoing (on TAPI)… these conversations on TAPI began in the last few years of the 20th century. It is a difficult neighbourhood if you look at the geography. So in that sense, this itself was a task in negotiating the pipeline.” “Thereafter it is on record that India has some concerns about the commercial and business aspect of the TAPI pipeline and that is being discussed,” he said, adding that the president’s visit will be another opportunity to “revisit where we stand” on this issue.

He also said Afghanistan will figure in the president’s talks with the Turkmen leadership.

President Kovind’s trip to Turkmenistan will be followed by a state visit to the Netherlands from April 4-7 at the invitation of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. PTI MRJ AKJ MRJ

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.


Source: The Print

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