On expanding commercial ties with Tajikistan, Mr. Ansari said the real problem was access to the landlocked natural resources-rich region.

Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari, who arrived here on Sunday on a four-day official visit to Tajikistan, was given a traditional ceremonial welcome at the international airport.

He was received by the first Deputy Prime Minister Daulatov Matlubkhon Sultonovich, senior Tajik officials and Indian Ambassador Asith Bhattacharjee.

Earlier, while talking to journalists on board the special flight from Delhi to Dushanbe, the Vice-President said that India enjoyed excellent relations with Tajikistan politically but commercial ties were “modest”. Besides, the two countries shared old cultural relations.

Mr. Ansari said an important area of concern for both the countries was terrorism. “As India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism, so has Tajikistan which has also suffered in a similar manner. Terrorism emanating from Afghanistan remains a crucial concern and a live issue. We also have a joint working group on terrorism. Tajikistan is very sensitive on this issue and we are cooperating with it on ways to tackle this menace,” he said.

Mr. Ansari said defence cooperation with Tajikistan was satisfactory. Regarding concerns about the situation in Afghanistan post-withdrawal of the U.S. forces, he said India, like other countries, was also keenly “watching” it. Like India, Tajikistan also agreed that without a stable Afghanistan, the entire region cannot be stable.

On expanding commercial ties with Tajikistan, Mr. Ansari said the real problem was access to the landlocked natural resources-rich region. The visit, the first by an Indian Vice-President, is significant as the strategically located Tajikistan shares its borders with Afghanistan, China and Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. A narrow sliver of land separates it from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

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