India, Tajikistan upgrade ties, sign four pactsSeptember 3rd, 2012 - 6:28 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) India and Tajikistan, the energy-rich Central Asian nation, Monday decided to upgrade their ties to the level of strategic partnership and signed four pacts in areas of education, health, sports and culture.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon 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 four pacts to intensify their collaboration in areas of health, education, sports and culture.
India sought to intensify developmental partnership by unveiling a host of gift for the hydro-power rich nation, including the setting up of an IT Centre of excellence, an e-network including tele-education and tele-medicine, medical centres and language laboratories.
India also pledged to set up a fruit and vegetable processing plant and an Entrepreneurship Development Institute, and agreed to provide agricultural machinery. New Delhi also announced that it will enhance the number of training slots for Tajik nationals from 100 to 150 slots annually under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation training programme.
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,” he 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.
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