Khawaja Asif, Turkmen Defence Minister discuss bilateral ties

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 10 (APP): Minister for Defence and Secretary of National Security Council of Turkmenistan Col Gen Berdiyev Yaylym Yagmyrovich along with his delegation called on Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif here Thursday and discussed matters
of bilateral interest.
The minister welcomed the dignitary and congratulated him on completion of 25 years of independence of Turkmenistan.
He also conveyed warmest congratulations to the leadership of the brotherly people of Turkmenistan.
The minister said that Pakistan attached great value to the friendly relations with Turkmenistan and is looking forward to further strengthen the friendship.
The Turkmenistan Defence Minister highlighted the importance of TAPI gas pipeline and informed that they have started work on the project inside Turkmenistan.
He stated that Turkmenistan is rich in national resources which can be exploited through cooperation with the brotherly countries like Pakistan.
He said that Turkmenistan is also interested in laying electricity supply lines and rail and road connectivity with Pakistan through Afghanistan.
Referring to the internal problem of Afghanistan, he said that Turkmenistan is providing all possible help and assistance to the people and government of Afghanistan to reduce their problems.
In order to make TAPI a success all relevant sides will have to work jointly and take practical steps. He said that security of TAPI project is quite important.
The Defence Minister of Turkmenistan informed that in January 2017 Turkmen Armed Forces are going to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
In this regard he highly applauded the assistance provided by the Armed Forces of Pakistan in various directions and expressed hope that this cooperation will continue and grow further.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that Pakistan is looking forward to enhance the existing military and defence cooperation with Turkmenistan especially providing various types of military and counter terrorism training to the Turkmenistan Armed Forces.
He said that Pakistan Armed Forces are fighting and countering terrorism in an effective manner. More than 200,000 personnel are involved in this fight.
Since security is a common issue of the two countries, therefore Pakistan would like to share expertise and training facilities with the Armed Forces of Turkmenistan.
He highlighted high level political and military contacts during last five years which indicates the will and wish of each side to promote bilateral cooperation in all fields.
Agreeing with his Turkmen counterpart, he said that revival of TAPI is important for all countries of the region but it has special significance for Pakistan and expressed hope that success of this project and establishing transmission lines for export of electricity from Turkmenistan to Pakistan will help to overcome the ongoing shortage of power and energy in Pakistan.
At the end the two ministers expressed their resolve to promote military and defence cooperation.
The Turkmen Defence Minister also extended invitation to Khawaja Muhammad Asif to visit Turkmenistan at his convenience as soon as possible.