Your Excellency Foreign Minister, Sirojiddin Muhriddin,
Friends from media.
Ruz Ba Khayr (Good afternoon)
I am very happy to visit Tajikistan at the invitation of the Foreign Minister of Tajikistan. This is my first bilateral official visit to Tajikistan as Foreign Minister.
I also attended the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process on Afghanistan within the framework of my visit. The Conference was indeed a timely one and my felicitations to Foreign Minister Sirojiddin and our Afghan counterpart Foreign Minister Atmar for a very successful Conference.
During the visit, I had an opportunity to call on President of Tajikistan H.E. Emomali Rahmon yesterday. President Rahmon, while expressing satisfaction with the current state of our bilateral ties, emphasized on greater economic cooperation between our two countries, particularly in respect of investments from Indian companies in Tajikistan. This will be a focus area of our future cooperation.
I also met today Chairman of Majlisi Namoyandagon (Lower House), Majlisi Oli, H.E. Mr Mahmadtoir Zokirzoda and Minister of Defence Colonel General Sherali Mirzo. Today, I had detailed talks of course with the Foreign Minister Sirojiddin on all aspects of our bilateral relationship as well as issues of regional and international interest.
Foreign Minister Sirojiddin and I shared a common view that while our bilateral strategic relations have grown and expanded over the years, there is potential for further strengthening our economic cooperation. We would encourage the business community, the Chambers and trade bodies on both sides to engage more intensively with each other while the governments will continue to play a facilitating role.
Development cooperation has also become an important pillar of our bilateral relationship. We have successfully commissioned a number of projects over the years in Tajikistan under our grant assistance including IT equipment in schools, food processing plant, engineering workshop, pharmaceutical plant, IT centres, rehabilitation and modernization of the Varzob-1 hydroelectric power plant etc. We are happy to be involved in the 8-laning of the Dushanbe-Chortut highway, which once completed next year, would greatly help in decongesting Dushanbe. We are also looking at more community development grant projects as well as projects in the energy and transport sectors under our Line of Credit in Tajikistan. Training and capacity building would continue to be one of the focus areas of our cooperation.
Given our common interest in maintaining peace and security in the region, defence and security cooperation occupies a very important role in our overall cooperation matrix. I had very productive discussions in this regard with Defence Minister Colonel General Sherali Mirzo. The Indo-Tajik Friendship hospital (ITFH) continues to be one of the important symbols of our cooperation.
My meeting with Chairman of Majlisi Namoyandagon (Lower House) H.E. Mahmadtoir Zokirzoda focused on how to further intensify our parliamentary cooperation including exchange of best practices, parliamentary training etc.
On the multilateral front, both our countries support each other in the UN and other multilateral fora including in the SCO. We would keep Tajikistan’s priorities in our mind during our current UN Security Council non-permanent membership.
Among the regional issues, we also discussed Afghanistan. We share a similar outlook that a durable peace in Afghanistan would require harmonizing the interests of all, both within and around that country. And if the peace process is to be successful, then it is necessary to ensure that the negotiating parties continue to engage in good faith with a serious commitment towards reaching a political solution. And it should be based on foundational principles to which we all subscribe. And it should be based on the foundational principles to which we all subscribe.
This year is an important year in the calendar of Tajikistan when it celebrates 30 years of its independence and holds the Presidency of the SCO in its 20th anniversary year. We are happy to extend our support to Tajikistan for the organization of the SCO Summit in Dushanbe. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the Government and people of Tajikistan on this important milestone of its 30th year of independence.
And the fact that during these unprecedented times, we were able to supply ‘Made in India’ vaccines to Tajikistan recently as well as medicines against COVID-19 speaks of our close partnership.
Overall, I would say that our bilateral relations have been considerably strengthened over the years and we look forward to further deepening of our ties with our friend and close partner – Tajikistan.
I would like to finally take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to my brother and esteemed colleague, the Foreign Minister of Tajikistan and the Government of Tajikistan for the generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation and excellent arrangements made for my visit to Dushanbe.
Tashakkur (Thank you).