By Shumaila Andleeb
ASHGABAT (Turkmenistan), Sep 16 (APP): President Mamnoon Hussain on Saturday terming the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan- Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project “an important trade and transit corridor”, stressed its timely implementation for the region’s benefit.
He expressed these views in a meeting with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Malikgulyevich Berdimuhamedov, as the two leaders met here at the Presidential Palace on the sidelines of 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games being held in the white marbled city of Ashgabat.
President Mamnoon said the TAPI project had huge prospects to include road, electricity transmission and fiber optic lines as well as establishment of economic zones.
He welcomed Turkmenistan’s offer to export 1,000 megawatt of electricity to Pakistan through Afghanistan and emphasized that the experts of both countries should diligently work towards materializing tha project. He also mentioned that Pakistan was ready to negotiate with International Finance Corporation (IFC) to seek financial support for feasibility study and investment in that regard.
He stressed cooperation between Pakistan and Turkmenistan in the fields of trade, energy, agriculture, education, science and technology, infrastructure and transportation, besides mutual support for each other at regional and international fora.
In view of immense opportunities in exploration and production of oil and gas sector, the President said the state-owned companies in both the countries could negotiate the possibility of joint ventures.
President Mamnoon mentioned that Pakistan had also formally declared joining of the Ashgabat Agreement (Central Asia-Middle East Corridor) and the Lapis Lazuli Corridor.
He said Pakistan and Turkmenistan enjoyed fraternal ties rooted in common culture and history, which were further strengthened by shared goals of peace, prosperity and progress of the two countries and the region as a whole.
He said Pakistan was committed to comprehensively upgrading bilateral cooperation across all areas of common interest.
The President said the current year marked the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Turkmenistan, and expressed satisfaction that both sides had been engaged in celebrating the event at various levels.
President Mamnoon wished the Turkmen President success in hosting the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in his
country and apprised him of Pakistan’s 130-member sports contingent also participating in the games in various disciplines.
The President said bilateral trade did not commensurate with the political goodwill that existed between the two countries and stressed a relaxed visa regime for promotion of economic relations.
He said both the countries possessed rich experience in agriculture and agro-based industry, including wheat, rice, textile and food processing, and could mutually benefit from each other’s expertise.
The President suggested that the two countries could explore possibilities of joint ventures in the fields of construction, petrochemicals, information technology, automobile-related precision parts, cutlery and surgical sectors.
The need for cooperation in defence, medical universities and pharmaceutical companies also came under discussion.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov welcomed President Mamnoon for visiting his country and expressed confidence that frequent high-level exchanges between Pakistan and Turkmenistan would encourage bilateral trade and economic relations for the benefit of their peoples.
Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal and senior officials were also present in the meeting.