SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF THE PRESIDENT OF TURKMENISTAN H.E. MR. GURBANGULY BERDIMUHAMEDOV
New Delhi, 25th May 2010
Your Excellency President Berdimuhamedov,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure in welcoming you and members of your delegation to India. We have been eagerly awaiting your Excellency's first visit to India. I am confident that your visit will further consolidate and strengthen our relations.
Our countries share old historical and cultural bonds, connected on the Silk Route in ancient days. Our multi-ethnic and diverse societies today stand for pluralism, mutual respect and tolerance. Our countries have developed bonds of friendship and cooperation on the basis of shared political perspectives, convergence of interests and our cultural affinities.
We, in India, admire the remarkable progress achieved by Turkmenistan. We admire your commitment to advancement in the education, economic and social sectors. As nations, we have similar priorities - economic development, social justice and creating a skilled human resource.
Cooperation in education holds many promises for our countries. Turkmen students are pursuing their studies and receiving training under our ITEC programme and ICCR scholarships. We will be happy to expand this cooperation. Exchanges in education and learning each other's languages build long term bonds. In this context, we are delighted that a Hindi Chair has been established in the Azadi Institute, Ashgabat and that a proposal to set up an Urdu Chair in a Turkmen University is being considered. We also need to increase people-to-people contacts and cooperation in arts, culture and archaeology. As friendly countries, we should foster and nurture bonds which bring us closer.
India has developed expertise in high technology areas such as Information Technology, Space, Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals. We are ready to share our skills in these sectors with our partners in developing countries.
A multifaceted economic partnership will further fortify our traditionally close relationship. As the role of the business community in building a stable and strong economic partnership is very important, we must encourage them to explore and avail of all opportunities of trade and investment.
Turkmenistan is richly endowed with mineral resources. India is keen to deepen its engagement with Turkmenistan, especially in the hydrocarbon sector. India is an attractive market and also has expertise, technology and trained manpower in the hydrocarbon sector. We would be happy to invest in Turkmenistan in the hydrocarbon and other high-technology sectors. India is also keen to see progress on the TAPI gas pipeline project.
We congratulate you for your vision and leadership in integrating Turkmenistan with the global community. The Permanent Neutrality policy of Turkmenistan has contributed to regional peace and security.
India attaches importance to its extended neighbourhood and enjoys friendly relations with Central Asian countries, Iran and Afghanistan. With a view to maintaining stability and combating extremism in the region, India is cooperating with all the neighbouring countries.
India is against all forms of terrorism and to firmly deal with this menace which has assumed world-wide dimensions, global coordinated efforts are required. We regard Turkmenistan as a valuable partner in the fight against terrorism.
Our two countries share common perceptions and views on most issues of regional and global concern. We have collaborated in many international fora. We are committed to working with Turkmenistan to achieve the goals of common concern and in building a strong bilateral relationship.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would now invite you to join me in a toast to:-
- the health and well-being of President Berdimuhamedov,
- the prosperity and well-being of the friendly people of Turkmenistan; and
- the strong and ever growing friendship between India and Turkmenistan.