India, Turkmenistan agree to step up bilateral cooperation

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New Delhi, Jan 22 (UNI) India and Turkmenistan have held discussions on collaborative ventures in energy sector, including oil and gas, and agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas like trade and investment and hydro-carbons.

At the Second Session of the India-Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which concluded here today, the two countries also reviewed bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, hydrocarbons, education, science and technology and culture since the first meeting of the Commission in October 2006 in Ashgabat.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, Rashid Meredov, led a high-level delegation at the two-day talks.

The Indian delegation was headed by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed.

The Turkmenistan delegation included five Ministers--of Oil and Gas, Education, Trade, Culture and Protection of Nature.

During the visit, Mr Meredov also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Hamid Ansari and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

An External Affairs Ministry spokesman today said the two sides agreed on further efforts for strengthening cooperation, particularly greater exchange of business delegations, participation in trade fairs/exhibitions, increase in banking ties, encouraging investments, discussions on collaborative ventures between energy companies as a follow up of the transit visit of Petroleum Minister Murli Deora to Ashgabat in November 2007, scientific exchanges, realising business potential in infrastructure sector, developing transport linkages and greater cultural exchanges in the context of close historical and civilisation linkages between the two countries.

Cooperation in higher-education and human resource development was also discussed in view of ongoing reforms by the Turkmenistan government in these areas.

The two countries signed a Protocol on the conclusion of the Inter-Governmental Commission.

UNI RB MS AS1837

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