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Tajikistan, India Sign Six Pacts


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New Delhi (IANS) – In a four-day state visit to India Tajik President Emomali Rahmon held talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues and decided to upgrade their growing ties to the level of a strategic partnership. After the talks, the two sides signed six pacts to intensify their collaboration in areas of health, education, sports and culture.

In a joint press conference, Manmohan Singh declared:

To intensify our developmental partnership, India has offered to undertake a series of development projects in Tajikistan. These include the setting up of an IT Centre of excellence, an e-network including tele-education and tele-medicine, medical centres, language laboratories, a fruit and vegetable processing plant and an Entrepreneurship Development Institute, as well as supply of agricultural machinery. We have also decided to enhance the number of training slots under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation training programme from 100 to 150 slots annually.

Describing Tajikistan as “a key partner of India in the Central Asian region”, Manmohan Singh announced that in view of the broad progress made in bilateral relations, particularly in defence and security cooperation, the two sides “should elevate our relations to a strategic partnership”.

The two countries also decided to bolster trade and investment, with India conveying support for an “an early accession of Tajikistan to the WTO”.

“We also discussed opportunities for investments in free economic zones in Tajikistan. We hope to send a delegation from the private and public sectors to explore investment opportunities in these zones. Information technology, e-connectivity, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, textiles, leather goods, mining and renewable energy are some of the areas with high potential,” Singh said.

The volatile situation in Afghanistan and the prospects of cooperation in the wake of the phased withdrawal of international combat troops by 2014 figured prominently in the discussions, said informed sources. In this context, the two countries decided to deepen counter-terror cooperation. “President Rahmon and I exchanged views on the situation in the Central Asian region and beyond, particularly in the context of the security transition in Afghanistan. We also agreed to deepen our counter-terrorism cooperation,” said Manmohan Singh. “As secular countries, it is essential for us to preserve the secular values of our societies and ensure their safety and security. Our government looks forward to working with Tajikistan to meet these challenges,” he said.

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