Terrorism in Central Asia region features in talks between Indian and Tajik Presidents
Terrorism emanating from the Afghanistan-Central Asia region figured prominently in the talks between President Pratibha Patil and her Tajikistan counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, here on Monday.
The President brought up the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and said India was awaiting action from Pakistan against the culprits and in the dismantling of terror infrastructure.
Thanking Tajikistan for its help and cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Ms. Patil said: “Terrorism, extremism and fundamentalism are posing a serious threat to the peace and security of our region, be it India, Afghanistan or Tajikistan. The propagation of intolerance and hatred, and the resultant terrorism, is the greatest threat to world peace and security in the post-Cold War era … It is imperative that all governments of the region take urgent, proactive measures to cooperate and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, so that these forces do not derail the processes of progress and prosperity.”
The other key area that came up for discussion was hydro power, which India is looking to tap as part of its long-term energy security goals. The two Presidents reviewed the progress of Varzob-1 Hydro Power Station upgraded by Indian companies BHEL and NHPC. The modernisation of the plant was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the August 2006 visit to India by President Rahmon.
The Indian side said while Tajikistan had no hydrocarbon resources, it made up for this lack with a huge hydro power potential. Developing this was mutually beneficial. It helped Tajikistan’s severely underdeveloped economy, and it also fitted in with India’s own need for energy security. Tajikistan’s overall hydro power potential has been placed at between 40,000 MW and 80,000 MW.
Both Presidents independently expressed dissatisfaction at the level of bilateral trade, and said that there was immense potential to take trade volumes beyond the present $25 million.
Pointing out that Dushanbe was geographically closer to New Delhi than New Delhi was to some of India’s own cities, the Indian President said the bilateral trade situation did not reflect this.
The two Presidents also discussed India’s assistance to Tajikistan in Science and Technology, Communications and Information and Technology. The Tajik President noted that India had managed a growth rate of 6.5 per cent even when the rest of the world was reeling under the impact of the global downturn.