On Saturday, President Ram Nath Kovind and his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, held delegation-level talks at the Oguzhar palace in Ashgabat and exchanged views on a range of regional and international issues.
Several Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were also signed during the talks between India and Turkmenistan. During the meeting, the current state and future prospects of bilateral relations between the two countries were discussed.
President Kovind stated that the Memorandum of Understanding signed between India’s Financial Intelligence Unit and Turkmenistan’s Financial Monitoring Service would strengthen the framework of economic cooperation between the two countries. Highlighting the significance of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the Ashgabat Agreement on International Transport and Transit Corridors Turkmenistan’s president stated that India’s Chabahar port in Iran could be used to improve trade between India and Central Asia.
Turkmen President stated that his country is an important partner for India in the India-Central Asia Summit framework, and both countries have agreed to further enhance cooperation under the framework resulting from the India-Central Asia Summit.
Both countries have identified new areas of cooperation, such as disaster management, according to the president. Both countries have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Mr Kovind stated that the MoU for the Programme of Cooperation on Culture and Arts for the period 2022-25 will give a new direction to our cultural cooperation, citing centuries of civilizational and cultural ties between the two countries.
Mr. Kovind expressed his delight at Turkmenistan’s willingness to send a youth delegation to India as part of India-Central Asia cultural cooperation, saying that the MoU on Youth Affairs would further intensify exchanges between the two countries’ youth.
The President expressed gratitude to Turkmenistan for its support for India’s permanent membership in a reformed and expanded United Nations Security Council, as well as India’s initiatives as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the years 2021-22.
As immediate neighbours, both countries are naturally concerned about developments in Afghanistan and their external ramifications, according to the President. Both countries shared a broad ‘regional consensus’ on issues concerning Afghanistan, including the formation of a truly representative and inclusive government, combating terrorism and drug trafficking, the UN’s central role, providing immediate humanitarian assistance to Afghans, and the protection of women, children, and other national ethnic groups and minorities.
The two countries agreed to do more to boost their modest bilateral trade. Business communities, according to President Ram Nath Kovind, must deepen their engagement, understand each other’s regulations, and identify new areas of trade and investment. President Kovind suggested that technical and expert level meetings be held to discuss the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline.