EAM Jaishankar held a meeting with his Tajik counterpart Sirojiddin Muhriddin on Tuesday

Speaking to the press after the meeting, EAM Jaishankar said while bilateral strategic relations between India and Tajikistan have grown and expanded over the years, there is a potential for further strengthening of economic ties between the two countries.

“We would encourage the business community, the chambers and trade bodies on both sides to engage more intensively with each other while the governments will continue to play a facilitating role,” Jaishankar who had gone to Tajikistan to attend the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia, said.

However, he maintained that development cooperation has also become an important pillar of bilateral relationship between the two countries.

“We have successfully commissioned a number of projects over the years in Tajikistan under our grant assistance including IT equipment in schools, food processing plant, engineering workshop, pharmaceutical plant, IT centres, rehabilitation and modernization of the Varzob-1 hydroelectric power plant,” Jaishankar said.

Highlighting the ongoing developmental partnership between India and Tajikistan, the EAM said, “We are happy to be involved in the 8-laning of the Dushanbe-Chortut highway, which once completed next year, would greatly help in decongesting Dushanbe. We are also looking at more community development grant projects as well as projects in the energy and transport sectors under our Line of Credit in Tajikistan. Training and capacity building would continue to be one of the focus areas of our cooperation.”

With regard to defence and security cooperation between the two countries, he said, “Given our common interest in maintaining peace and security in the region, defence and security cooperation occupies a very important role in our overall cooperation matrix. I had very productive discussions in this regard with Defence Minister Colonel General Sherali Mirzo. The Indo-Tajik Friendship hospital (ITFH) continues to be one of the important symbols of our cooperation.”

He also said that he had a meeting with Chairman of Majlisi Namoyandagon (Lower House) Mahmadtoir Zokirzoda. “My meeting with the Chairman focused on how to further intensify our parliamentary cooperation including exchange of best practices, parliamentary training,” the EAM said.

Among the regional issues, “we also discussed Afghanistan. We share a similar outlook that a durable peace in Afghanistan would require harmonizing the interests of all, both within and around that country. And if the peace process is to be successful, then it is necessary to ensure that the negotiating parties continue to engage in good faith with a serious commitment towards reaching a political solution. And it should be based on foundational principles to which we all subscribe. And it should be based on the foundational principles to which we all subscribe.”