New Delhi, Apr 5 : India and Turkmenistan on Saturday signed a historic pact to open avenues for bilateral cooperation in the Hydrocarbon sector.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed and Turkmenistan's Deputy Premier and Minister for Oil and Gas, Tachbordy Tagiev.
The pact was signed after the delegation level talks between the Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The MoU provides for cooperation in the upstream and downstream areas and also paves the way for Indian companies to be partners in the development of liquification facilities.
The leaders of the two countries reviewed the whole gamut of relations with a special focus on energy, security and other issues.
Another round of technical level talks on Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India gas pipe line being held in Islamabad soon is part of the same process.
The talks on the project were postponed twice due to domestic problems in Pakistan. The Vice President yesterday said that the technical level talks are continuing despite some doubts are being raised about the project.
Ansari who reached Ashgabat on the first leg of his visit on Friday evening is visiting several historical places in the evening.
Ansari's visit assumes significance amid India taking keen interest to step up engagement with Central Asia.
In Asgabat, Ansari will have discussions with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Deputy Chairman Rashid Meredov and senior leaders.
India's participation in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector are the issues to be discussed with the Turkmen leaders.
In Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, he will hold talks with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He will also meet Senate Chairman K Tokayev and address the Senate. Here Ansari will be conferred an honorary doctorate degree.
India and Kazakhstan have close ties on energy sector and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed in petroleum and natural gas sector.
Ansari will also hold talks in which trade and economic cooperation could be stepped up between the two countries.