Ashgabat, Apr 4 (UNI) Vice-President Hamid Ansari arrived here this evening to discuss strategy with the Turkmeni leaders for long term cooperation in the energy sector, including supply of gas through a pipeline.
Mr Ansari was received at the Ashgabat International Airport by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, Indian Ambassador to Turkmenistan M Afzal and other top level diginitories.
The Vice-President, who is on a three-day official visit to Turkmenistan, is accompanied by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed and senior officials of various ministeries, Mr Ansari told mediapersons that the focus of the talks would be collaboration between India and Turkmenistan in the critical energy sector.
''Energy is important for us and in this regard a number of steps are being taken by the Indian government to meet domestic energy and fuel demand,'' he said.
India has formally expressed interest in joining the gas pipeline project and it participated in the first Joint Working Group (JWG) on Hydrocarbons in Ashgabat in 2006. Turkmenistan has already given its consent for the country's inclusion in the dream project.
This being Mr Ansari's first visit abroad after becoming the Vice-President assumes significance because of India's deep interest to forge strong ties with the Central Asian nations in the energy sector.
Mr Ansari will hold talks in Asgabat with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Deputy Chairman Rashid Meredov and senior leaders.
He will have in-depth discussions with the Turkmeni leaders on a number of issue, particularly to expand economic, technical and cultural cooperation with the Central Asian country. He would also discuss the security and political developments in the Central and South Asia.
After Turkmenistan, the Vice-President will visit Kazakhstan.
In Almaty, the Vice-President will hold wide-ranging talks with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbavey. He will also meet Senate Chairman K Tokayev and address the Senate. He will be conferred Doctorate degree.
The two countries maintain close ties in petroleum and natural gas sector and had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) towards this effect.
India has also been assisting Kazakhstan in Information Technology sector.
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