Pakistan on Wednesday signed a defence agreement with Tajikistan under which it will sell domestically manufactured arms to the Central Asian country.
The agreement was part of several memorandums of understanding signed between the two countries during the visit of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to Pakistan.
Mr. Rahmon earlier arrived in Islamabad on a two-day visit and was received at the Prime Minister House where he was given a guard of honour.
Addressing a joint press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office with the Tajik president after their one-on-one meeting and a ceremony where various MoUs were signed, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “It is very important to improve our defence ties.” Mr. Khan said they “discussed and signed MOUs on how to meet Tajikistan’s requirement for the kind of weapons that Pakistan makes.” He said the agreements signed between the two countries will strengthen relations in the areas of education, defence, culture and art.
Mr. Khan said peace in Afghanistan was imperative for better bilateral ties between Pakistan and Tajikistan.
Drawing a comparison to the situation in Afghanistan when Soviet forces left in 1989, he said, “Both countries fear a similar situation when the U.S. forces leave the country and if a political settlement is not reached.” It would have an adverse effect on both countries, Mr. Khan said, adding, “our trade would be affected along with our connectivity”.
“We also fear that terrorism would increase. We have both agreed to involve other countries as well for a peaceful political settlement in Afghanistan,” he said.
Tajikistan shares its borders with Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
Mentioning another challenge, the prime minister said both countries face the threat of climate change.
“The president told me that their glaciers, which are their main water source, have melted due to global warming. Pakistan faces a similar situation as 80% of the water that goes into the rivers comes from the glaciers,” Mr. Khan said.
He said both the leaders have decided to effectively raise their voice globally and call to action on global warming and climate change.
The Tajik president said his country considered Pakistan as a reliable and trustworthy partner at the international stage. “We have also highlighted the significant role of the Joint Inter governmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation.” Mr. Rahmon said the two sides agreed to resume the business council as well as the joint working groups on energy and infrastructure as soon as the situation improves after COVID-19.
He also showed keenness in joining regional transport corridor projects, including access to Gwadar seaport.
Mr. Khan and Mr. Rahmon also signed a joint declaration on next steps in building strategic partnership for regional solidarity and integration.