Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during his visit to Turkmenistan today that the country will be an important pivot as India deepens its relations with Central Asia. Connecting South and Central Asia will open up new economic opportunities in our region and beyond, he said.
Modi described the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline as the most significant initiative in the relationship between India and Turkmenistan.
He said the TAPI gas pipeline could transform regional economic cooperation and bring prosperity along the route. He said the pipeline project needed to be implemented as early as possible.
Modi also proposed that the two sides should explore multiple options, including the additional possibility of land-sea route through Iran.
Together with the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link, and India's proposed investment in Chahbahar Port in Iran, these initiatives will strengthen connectivity between our countries, he said.
Modi conveyed India's interest in long-term investment in the energy sector in Turkmenistan.
ONGC Videsh Limited will open an office in Ashgabat, the capital and largest city in Turkmenistan, which has the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas.
The two countries also discussed investments in downstream industries, including petrochemicals and fertilizer in Turkmenistan.
A memorandum of understanding in the fertilizer sector signed during bilateral meeting will enable long-term arrangements for supply of fertilizers from Turkmenistan to India.
Connectivity is an area of priority for both countries and using the Iran route, Ashgabat is the first capital to reach in Central Asia.
The two countries signed memoranda of understanding on a various sectors, including:
- Supply of chemical products between India's state-run Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited and the Turkmen state concern Turkmenhimiya;
- For cooperation between the Foreign Service Institute of India's ministry of external affairs and the Institute of International Relations of the ministry of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan;
- Cooperation between India's ministry of youth affairs and sports and the state committee for sport of Turkmenistan in the field of sports;
- Programme of cooperation in science and technology between the governments of India and Turkmenistan for the period 2015-2017:
- Cooperation between the governments of India and Turkmenistan in Yoga and traditional medicine;
- Cooperation between the governments of India and Turkmenistan on cooperation in the field of tourism; and
- Cooperation between the governments of India and the Republic of Turkmenistan on cooperation in the field of defence.
In a statement after bilateral talks Modi said India attached great importance to its relations with Turkmenistan. There is enormous potential for cooperation between India, a nation of 1.25 billion people with a large and rapidly growing economy, and Turkmenistan, a nation rich in resources, he added.