President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said India and Tajikistan should combine forces to fight terrorism, and as secular countries, both should strive to preserve their secular values and provide safety and security.

Mr. Mukherjee was speaking at a banquet hosted in honour of the visiting President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon.

He said the people of India and Tajikistan have shared ideas, knowledge, art, and literature, forging a strong relationship.

Ties have existed, from prehistoric times, between India and Central Asia, and in particular, the Tajik people.

Common threat

Seeking Tajikistan’s cooperation to combat terrorism, Mr. Mukherjee said: “We live in a region beset with many challenges presented by extremist and fundamentalist forces. The menace of terrorism is a common threat. No faith supports such means. No politics can justify it. India and Tajikistan can do much to combat terrorism. As secular countries, it is essential for us to preserve the secular values of our societies and guarantee their safety and security. Our government looks forward to working with Tajikistan to meet these challenges.”

Mr. Mukherjee also laid stress on maintaining peace in the South Asia and Central Asia regions.

He said efforts must be made to provide peace and stability in the region.

“The independence and progress towards the prosperity of Afghanistan is key to peace and stability in South Asia and Central Asia,” he said.

He also expressed the hope that the two countries would build an alliance beneficial to the people of both nations and also enhance collaboration in industries, trade, and tourism to boost bilateral ties.

He was confident the talks and discussions that have taken place during Mr. Rahmon’s visit would lead to enhanced co-operation for the mutual benefit of both countries.

“Our common goals seek to guarantee the progress and development of our peoples. The potential of our bilateral co-operation has no limit. We need to work together to overcome the adverse effects, on our economies, of the global economic slowdown. Let us collaborate in industries, trade, renewable energy, tourism, culture, and let us support one another in technology, education, and in the capacity-building of our peoples,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

“While we take our relationship to a higher level of strategic partnership, let us also enhance our co-operation in pursuing our common goals in the international fora.”

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