Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership between the Republic of India and the Republic of Tajikistan

The President of the Republic of Tajikistan, His Excellency Mr. Emomali Rahmon, is on a State Visit to India from 1 to 4 September 2012 at the invitation of the President of the Republic of India, His Excellency Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. This is President Mr. Emomali Rahmon’s fifth visit to India. In New Delhi, H.E. President Mr. Emomali Rahmon held detailed discussions with the Prime Minister of India H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh and met the President of Republic of India on 3 September. The President of India is hosting a state banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary. Vice President H.E. Mr. Hamid Ansari and Leader of Opposition Ms. Sushma Swaraj also called on the President of Tajikistan H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon. The visiting dignitary also addressed a business meeting organized jointly by ASSOCHAM, CII and FICCI.

The Indian side noted that the visit of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon was a welcome continuation of the tradition of regular exchange of high level visits between India and Tajikistan. The visit also testified to the close historical and deep cultural ties between the two countries.

The sides reviewed the current status of bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues. They noted the similarity of their positions on bilateral, regional and global issues. Both sides agreed that the Foreign Ministries and other line ministries of both countries would continue to hold regular consultations, including exchange of visits. They noted with satisfaction that the discussions took place in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The sides noted with satisfaction the broadening of the legal framework for bilateral cooperation in recent years. In this context, they welcomed the signing of bilateral agreements in a range of spheres including textiles, culture, education, sport, health and labour. They also agreed to discuss and finalize in the near future more bilateral documents in spheres such as air services; double taxation; consular issues; justice; mining; social security; finance and banking; industry and energy; and transport and communications.

The sides noted that India and Tajikistan had stakes in mutual progress, prosperity and regional peace and stability, and expressed their determination to impart greater dynamism to the relationship through all-round cooperation and engagement. They decided to elevate their bilateral relations to the level of a long-term strategic partnership. This partnership will encompass cooperation in a wide spectrum of areas, including political, economic, education, health, human resource development, defence, counter-terrorism, science and technology, culture and tourism.

The sides reviewed trade and economic cooperation between India and Tajikistan, and agreed that the current level of bilateral trade was well below potential. They underscored the need for increasing the volume and base of mutual trade through concrete supportive measures and mechanisms. They agreed that the Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific & Technical Cooperation was an important mechanism for implementation of agreements and memoranda agreed upon, and underlined the need to increase the quality and level of trade and economic cooperation. They expressed confidence that the next session of the Joint Commission scheduled later in the year, would address these issues and make constructive recommendations.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the signing of the Protocol on bilateral negotiations for Tajikistan’s access to the World Trade Organization. The Indian side stated it would hope to cooperate with Tajikistan closely in this world organization and expressed confidence that the integration of Tajikistan into the global economy would enhance bilateral trade cooperation.

The sides emphasized the importance of connectivity between the two countries and noted that the lack of surface transport corridor was a constraint to mutual trade, cultural, tourist and other exchanges between the peoples. They agreed to work towards establishment of transport corridors in cooperation with countries of the region. The sides also discussed implementation of projects such as the Trans-Afghan corridor, INSTC and the project to establish the Central Asia-Persian Gulf corridor. They noted that the implementation of these projects may considerably cut down the distance and costs for transportation of goods between India and Tajikistan, as well as provide third countries in these projects the opportunity to integrate into the regional system of transport connectivity.

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the resumption of direct flights between the two countries under the Civil Aviation Agreement. The Tajik side expressed gratitude to the Indian side for permission to increase the number of flights per week. The Indian side welcomed commercial flight operations by Tajik aviation companies on the Delhi-Dushanbe sector and hoped that the frequency of these flights would be further increased and would facilitate bilateral trade and broader people-to-people contacts. The Tajik side invited Indian air carriers to also operate flights to Tajikistan.

The sides agreed to improve the trade and investment climate and create favourable conditions in order to expand mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. The sides called upon their respective business communities to avail of opportunities for mutually beneficial investments in major joint projects in promising sectors such as information technology and e-connectivity; pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; textiles, silk and leather goods; mining and exploration; hydropower and renewable energy sources; and tourism. In this context, the Tajik side invited Indian private and public sector investments in free economic zones [FEZs] in the territory of Tajikistan. The Indian side agreed to mount a delegation to these FEZs to study the available investment opportunities.

The sides discussed cooperation in the banking and financial sectors and agreed that further consultations would take place at the expert level to resolve specific issues and discuss fresh initiatives for cooperation.

The Tajik side expressed its deep appreciation to the Indian side for ensuring the completion of modernization of the Varzob hydel power station near Dushanbe. The sides stated their intention to further strengthen cooperation in the energy sector, including in hydel power, solar and other forms of renewable energy and to start discussions on a regional energy infrastructure network.

India, as part of its ongoing developmental partnership with Tajikistan, announced new development projects including: an IT Centre of excellence; an e-network, including tele-education and tele-medicine; medical centres; language laboratories; an Entrepreneurship Development Institute; supply of agricultural machinery; and the implementation of a package of small development projects [SDPs]. Both sides agreed to set up an India-Tajik Friendship Hospital in Tajikistan. The sides agreed to consult at the expert level for early implementation of the package of new projects in Tajikistan.

The sides also agreed to cooperate in principle in concrete projects, in promising spheres like poultry & animal husbandry; hydropower plants; railway lines; textiles; mining; and sharing of science & technical information in agriculture and farming.

The sides expressed satisfaction at the continuing expansion of defence cooperation. Noting that the recently concluded Joint Working Group meeting in Dushanbe provided a fillip to this cooperation, they expressed confidence that this cooperation would contribute to regional security and stability. The Tajik side expressed gratitude for India’s assistance in defence capacity building and infrastructure and welcomed India’s further contribution in this strategic sector of cooperation.

The sides noted the untapped potential of scientific and technical cooperation between the scientific centers of the two countries on organization of joint research in the spheres of biotechnology, material science, solar power, laser technologies, mining of minerals and automation of production process. The sides agreed to intensify contacts between educational institutions of both countries and to increase cooperation in human resources development.

The sides emphasized the centrality of culture in further deepening close bonds between the peoples of India and Tajikistan and expressed satisfaction with the signature of the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for the period 2012-2015. They also agreed to undertake joint film production and training in cinematography.

In keeping with its commitment to developing human resource capacity in Tajikistan, the Indian side offered to increase the existing number of training slots under the ITEC Programme to 150 slots. The Tajik side welcomed this gesture.

Reaffirming that international terrorism is a threat to global peace and security, the sides condemned those who support terrorism and underscored that those aiding, abetting and sheltering terrorists were as guilty of acts of terrorism as their actual perpetrators. They stressed the need to work jointly towards eliminating the menace of terrorism including exchange of information, data, financing of terrorism and related matters. They emphasized the need for enhanced dialogue between security agencies. Both sides further emphasized the need for adoption of "Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism" by the UN General Assembly in the near future. They agreed to continue consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and to coordinate their efforts within the framework of the JWG on Combating International Terrorism in this regard. With the tragic losses suffered in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai particularly in mind, both sides called for the active prosecution of the authors of such crimes and their accomplices, and urged that they be brought to justice expeditiously.

The sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the challenges emanating from the region, including the existence of safe havens and sanctuaries for terrorism and drug trafficking, and reaffirmed the importance of sustained peace and stability in the country, particularly, in the context of the proposed withdrawal of ISAF forces in 2014 from Afghanistan. The sides stressed that the issue of restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan was inseparably linked with regional security. The sides emphasized their support to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in establishing an independent, peaceful, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan. The sides emphasized the need to promote the process of restoration of peace in Afghanistan with participation of all sides concerned. The sides agreed that regional economic cooperation through implementation of infrastructure and other projects, proposed during the RECCA V Conference in Dushanbe (March 2012) and the Investment Summit in Delhi (June 2012) would play an effective role in the economic recovery of Afghanistan.

The sides expressed their strong commitment to multilateralism, with the United Nations playing a central role in dealing with global challenges and threats. They reaffirmed their commitment to the reform of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, through its expansion in the permanent and non-permanent categories, with increased representation of developing countries in both, in order to improve its efficiency, representativeness, and legitimacy to meet contemporary challenges faced by the international community. The Tajik side reiterated its support for India's candidature for permanent membership of an expanded Security Council.

The sides underscored the importance of further strengthening cooperation in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), taking into account the active participation of both sides in the activities of this Organization. The Tajik side reiterated support to India's full membership in this regional grouping.

The Indian side welcomed the entry into force of the Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia and was prepared to extend necessary security assurances.

His Excellency Mr. Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, thanked the Indian leadership and the people of India for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him and to the Tajikistan delegation during his State Visit to India. He invited his Excellency Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, to visit Tajikistan. The President of Tajikistan also invited His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, to visit Tajikistan. The invitations were accepted with pleasure.

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