Dushanbe: India and Tajikistan on Monday agreed to intensify cooperation in combating terrorism and extremism as well as in defence and connectivity as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the final stop of his Central Asian tour and asserted that India must reconnect with the region.
Modi, who held talks with President Emomali Rahmon at the Qasr-e-Millat (Palace of Nations), also assured India's support to Tajikistan in the field of agriculture.
Both sides inked agreements on culture and human resource development.
Speaking on terrorism, Modi said both nations were "located in the proximity of the main source of terrorism. Combating terrorism and extremism has always been an important and productive area of cooperation. At a time of growing threat of terrorism, we have resolved to intensify our cooperation further".
The joint statement said both agreed to re-invigorate official-level interactions in counter-terror under the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter Terrorism.
Modi said both agreed to strengthen defence cooperation. "It is a strong pillar of our strategic partnership."
The joint statement said Modi reiterated India's commitment to supporting the development of Tajikistan's defence capacities to enhance stability and security.
Both sides also stressed boosting trade and connectivity links.
Modi, addressing a workshop on agriculture later, said: "Today I complete my tour of Central Asia. I return to India convinced that India and Central Asia must reconnect. It is important for the future that we seek for our countries and our region.
"So we will improve our surface connectivity, as well as our digital and air connectivity. We will reach you through Iran and other Central Asian countries," he said, and hoped India and Tajikistan can connect directly, "as we once were in history".
Earlier, in his media statement, Modi said both sides have tasked the Joint Commission to meet and finalise a concrete roadmap to expand trade and economic ties.
On connectivity, Modi said both agreed to promote the International North South Transport Corridor, that seeks to connect Mumbai with St. Petersburg.
The joint statement said both sides agreed to hold talks on inclusion of India in the proposed Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement (PATTTTA), which would facilitate trade between Tajikistan and the countries of the South Asian region.
Modi said he hoped both nations could establish a direct link to promote prosperity across the region.
In the field of energy, Tajikistan thanked India for upgradation and modernisation of the Varzob-1 Hydro Power Station through the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) as well as various training programmes organised for experts from Tajikistan in the field of hydropower.
Rahmon sought greater Indian engagement in the field of hydropower generation in Tajikistan.
Modi conveyed India's appreciation for Tajikistan's continued support for India's candidature for permanent membership of a reformed UN Security Council.
He said with India becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, it would add a new dimension to the bilateral partnership.
Later, Modi accompanied by Rahmon visited the India-Tajikistan Field Hospital in Qurghonteppa in Tajikistan.
"At the Field Hospital, functional since November 2014, close to 20,000 patients have been treated in the OPD," he tweeted.
The two leaders posed for photographs with hospital personnel.
Modi also unveiled a bust of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore at Bukhoro Square in Dushanbe.
Addressing the gathering, which included President Rahmon, Modi said: "Very rarely has a poet written the anthems of two countries as Gurudev did with India and Bangladesh."
"Today the basis of foreign relations are territory or weaponry, but here two nations (India and Tajikistan) are coming together for humanism not for weaponry but tradition."
Rahmon, addressing the gathering, said India's success was based on following ideals of great thinkers like Tagore.
Dushanbe was the last stop of Modi's tour of the five Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. He also visited Ufa in Russia for the BRICS and SCO summits.