Hamid Ansari arrives in Tajikistan on four-day `goodwill` visit
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Last Updated: Sunday, April 14, 2013, 18:14
  
Dushanbe: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Sunday arrived here on a four-day "goodwill" visit to Tajikistan to discuss ways to boost their strategic ties in multiple sectors, including counter-terrorism, with the resource-rich central Asian nation.

Ansari, a former diplomat, will hold high-level talks with top leaders of Tajikistan including its President Emomali Rahmon and Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Trade, among others, to discuss ways for further cooperation between the two nations.

Ansari is the first Indian Vice-President to visit the nation.

Ansari was received by Tajikistan's Deputy Prime Minister Davlatov Matlubkhon Sultonovich.

Both the countries share "close and cordial" relations for over 21 years since Tajikistan's independence following dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

During the visit, the two sides will discuss the issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistan and Afghanistan and ways to get access to further trade with Tajikistan, which is a land locked country surrounded by mountains, by opening a trans-Afghan corridor.

"One area of common interest between two of us of the high priority is the problem of terrorism emanating from the territory between us and them -- which means Pakistan and Afghanistan. Tajikistan has enormous interest in the stability of Afghanistan.

We have the same kind of interests, same kind of concerns. So this is an area where cooperation and exchange has taken place on a continuation basis. And it is also an area of convergence," Ansari told media persons accompanying him on board a special flight.

Tajikistan has immense geo-strategic significance. It has a border with China of 520-km.

"It has a border with Afghanistan of 1,420 km. This is a very porous border and adds to the geo-strategic significance of the region. The Afghan-Wakhan corridor is 16-km, which is the least distance between Tajikistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK)," said an Indian diplomat.

Both the nations are not likely to sign any agreement during Ansari's visit. But, the thrust will be on to explore more areas of mutual cooperation.

Diplomatic relations between the two nations were established in 1992. In May 1994, India opened its diplomatic mission in Dushanbe and Tajikistan opened its embassy in New Delhi in June 2003.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Tajikistan in 2003. Former President Pratibha Patil had paid a visit to the central Asian nation in September 2009.

Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon has been a freequent visitor to India. He has visited India five times -- 1995, 1999, 2001, 2006 and in September 2012.

During the last visit by Rahmon, both the nations had inked six pacts in several areas including business and trade, health, culture, sports and education. During this visit, both the countries had elevated their bilateral relationship to the level of strategic partnership.

The Vice President is accompanied by his wife Salma Ansari, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Tariq Anwar and four MPs.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013, 18:14


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