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Ansari leaves for Turkmenistan, to attend TAPI event

Vice President Hamid Ansari today left on a three-day visit to Turkmenistan where he will attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the ambitious USD 7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline.

He will also participate in events marking the 20th anniversary of the Central Asian country’s status of permanent neutrality.

Soon after reaching Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, this evening, he is likely to hold bilateral talks with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

Ansari, who is accompanied by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, will tomorrow attend the events marking the 20th anniversary of Trukmenistan’s status of permanent neutrality.

The Vice President will address an international conference on policy of neutrality, peace, security and development.

On Sunday morning, Anasri would fly to the ancient city of Mary which was part of the old Silk Route to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the TAPI pipeline in the presence of representatives from Pakistan and Afghanistan — the two other stakeholders in the ambitious project.

New Delhi has a very important relationship with Ashgabat. “It is a resource-rich country. It is a country which has tremendous resonance with India both in our outlook on regional and international relations.

“Earlier this year, we have had some very very significant developments. The External Affairs Minister visited Turkmenistan which was followed by the historic visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — a visit which took place at PM level after 30 years — and several areas of co-operation were identified,” Secretary (West) in the MEA Navtej Sarna said.

India is also training Turkmen personnel in counter-terror tactics.

The Vice President will also pay homage at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi which was inaugurated by Modi early this year in the Turkmenistan capital.